Mathematics educators in the early years of the 20th century could argue for the important developmental experience that the study of mathematictics provided, could substantiate the usefulness of mathematics to individuals preparing for various societal roles. It was difficult to justify the secondary school requirements in mathematics based solely on the immediate and obvious usefulness of the mathematics being studied. Betz described 'five important aims of mathematical teaching, which he classified under symbolism, applications, the function concept, space intuition, and logic. Betz and other mathematics educators were confronted with the social efficiency educators' belief that school subjects had to be useful to justify their place in the school curriculum. History may not tell us how to act, but it does provide valuable perspective as the authors make decisions about how to act. It was in the humanist interest group that these mathematics educators found the greatest support for the place of mathematics in the school curriculum.