'The Sputnik crisis spurred a whole chain of knee jerk reactions in the USA. Among these [was] an overhaul of maths teaching'.
– Alex MacGillivray, A Brief History of Globalization.
From the book I'm reading at the moment, which I highly recommend.
For more on the link between Sputnik and maths education, see:
USATODAY.com – Space race cited in push for math teachers. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2006-01-30-math-race_x.htm
Push for math teachers looks back to Sputnik: Business and science groups revive images of Cold War space race. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11103499/