Everyday Mathematics curriculum was developed by the University of Chicago Project (or UCSMP ) which was founded in 1983.
Work on it started in the summer of 1985. The 1st edition was released in 1998 and the 2nd in 2002. A third edition was released in 2007.
Almost as soon as the first edition was released, it became part of a nationwide controversy over reform mathematics. In October 1999, US Department of Education issued a report labeling Everyday Mathematics one of five "promising" new math programs. The perceived endorsement of Everyday Mathematics and a number of other textbooks by an agency of the US government caused such outrage among practicing mathematicians and scientists that a group of them drafted an open letter to then Secretary of EducationRichard Riley urging him to withdraw the report. The letter  appeared in the November 18, 1999 edition of the Post and was eventually signed by more than 200 prominent mathematicians and scientists including four Nobel Laureates (one of whom, Steven Chu, has since become Secretary of Energy), three Fields Medalists, a National Medal of Science winner from the University of Chicago, and the some chairs of math departments.
Everyday Mathematics was adopted by the state of Oregon in 2010.
The debate has continued at the state and local level as school districts across the country consider the adoption of Everyday Math. Two states where the controversy has attracted national attention are California and Texas. California has one of the most rigorous textbook adoption processes and in January 2001 rejected Everyday Mathematics for failing to meet state content standards. Everyday Math stayed off the California textbook lists until 2007 when the publisher released a California version of the 3rd edition that is supplemented with more traditional arithmetic, reigniting debate at the local level. In late 2007, the Texas State Board of Education took the unusual step of rejecting the 3rd edition of Everyday Math  after earlier editions had been in use in more than 70 districts across the state. The fact that they singled out Everyday Math while approving all 162 other books and educational materials raised questions about the board's legal powers. The state of Texas dropped Everyday Mathematics, saying it was leaving public school graduates unprepared for college.
Below is an outline of the components of EM as they are generally seen throughout the curriculum.
A typical lesson outlined in one of the teacher’s manuals includes three parts
- Teaching the Lesson—Provides main instructional activities for the lesson.
- Ongoing Learning and Practice—Supports previously introduced concepts and skills; essential for maintaining skills.
- Differentiation Options—Includes options for supporting the needs of all students; usually an extension of Part 1, Teaching the Lesson.
- Daily Routines
Every day, there are certain things that each EM lesson requires the student to do routinely. These components can be dispersed throughout the day or they can be part of the main math lesson.
- Math Messages—These are problems, displayed in a manner chosen by the teacher, that students complete before the lesson and then discuss as an opener to the main lesson.
- Mental Math and Reflexes—These are brief (no longer than 5 min) sessions “…designed to strengthen children's number sense and to review and advance essential basic skills…” (Program Components 2003).
- Math Boxes—These are pages intended to have students routinely practice problems independently.
- Home Links/Study Links—Everyday homework is sent home. Grades K-3 they are called Home Links and 4-6 they are Study Links. They are meant to reinforce instruction as well as connect home to the work at school.
- Supplemental Aspects
Beyond the components already listed, there are supplemental resources to the program. The two most common are games and explorations.
- Games— “…Everyday Mathematics sees games as enjoyable ways to practice number skills, especially those that help children develop fact power…” (Program Components 2003). Therefore, authors of the series have interwoven games throughout daily lessons and activities.
What Works Clearinghouse ( or WWC )  reviewed the evidence in support of the Everyday Mathematics program. Of the 61 pieces of evidence submitted by the publisher, 57 did not meet the WWC minimum standards for scientific evidence, four met evidence standards with reservations, and one of those four showed a statistically significant positive effect. Based on the four studies considered, the WWC gave Everyday Math a rating of "Potentially Positive Effect" with the four studies showing a mean improvement in elementary math achievement (versus unspecified alternative programs) of 6 percentile rank points with a range of -7 to +14 percentile rank points, on a scale from -50 to +50.