Changing of the Guard and Continuing our Progress
At the end of the 2017 Business Meeting on February 11, 2017, AMTE President Christine Thomas passed the gavel to me. I did not know when I became President-elect one year ago that I would so deeply appreciate working with and be in awe of the commitment of people who make AMTE the organization it is. Many people make extraordinary efforts to sustain and build our organization and I am especially thankful to President Christine Thomas and Executive Director Tim Hendrix for mentoring me during the past year.
The 2017 AMTE Annual Conference was a success by all measures, and Executive Director Tim Hendrix and Conference Director Susan Gay, in their columns in this Connections issue, have written about the Annual Conference. I turn my attention in this column to the three AMTE Strategic Priorities for 2017 agreed to by the Board of Directors: Equity, AMTE’s Standards Dissemination, and Restructuring.
AMTE Strategic Priority: Continue to Place Issues of Equity and Social Justice at the Forefront of AMTE’s focus
AMTE has elevated equity and social justice through several initiatives. AMTE recently published Cases for Mathematics Teacher Educators: Facilitating Conversations About Inequities in Mathematics Classrooms. Last year we became involved in the Collective Action to Develop Awareness: Equity & Social Justice in Mathematics Education, an ongoing activity. Under the restructuring, we now have a Division of Advocacy, Equity, and Research, and we look forward to this division's, in general, and to the Equity Committee's, in particular, playing important roles in AMTE’s future.
We must consistently and loudly voice the values that AMTE holds. One of AMTE’s seven goals is to advocate for equitable practices. Furthermore, AMTE’s position statement on equity in mathematics teacher education includes a call to recognize, challenge, and ultimately transform structures and systems of inequity that lead to inequity in mathematics learning and teaching; calls for sensitivity and responsiveness to the varied mathematical, dispositional, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds of Pre-K–12 students, preservice teachers, in-service teachers, and colleagues; and requires mathematics teacher educators to engage teachers to reflect critically on privilege/deficit views and language about Pre-K–12 students, families, and communities. We must continue to reaffirm these commitments, especially in a political climate in which linguistic, cultural, and religious differences are not being recognized often enough as rich opportunities to be appreciated and embraced.
AMTE Strategic Priority: Disseminate the AMTE Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics and Make the Standards a Focal Point for the Work of AMTE
At the 2017 Annual Conference, AMTE launched the Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics. This ambitious document was the result of two years of work by a large writing team led by chair Nadine Bezuk and leadership-team members Jenny Bay-Williams, Doug Clements, and Gary Martin. The document explicates the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for a 21st-century teacher of mathematics along with the program characteristics associated with effective programs. A task force has been created and charged with developing and implementing a dissemination plan for this important document. For example, I will place the Standards at the center of every presentation I make on behalf of AMTE this year.
AMTE Strategic Priority: Enact and Facilitate the Transition of AMTE’s Infrastructure Around Five Divisions
The Annual Conference is a highlight of the AMTE year, and in the past, many may have associated AMTE as synonymous with this conference. Today the Annual Conference continues to be a highlight, but AMTE is much more. Today we produce books, monographs, standards documents, two journals, and a quarterly online newsletter; we engage with other national organizations, reacting to their documents and collaborating in ongoing initiatives; we engage in professional development through webinars and mentoring; we honor those making special contributions to our field with awards; and, we administer the STaR program for early-career faculty. AMTE’s expanding responsibilities led to the realization that AMTE needed to restructure its leadership so that this work might be distributed. To carry out this change, AMTE set forth, two years ago, on a restructuring plan, a plan that was approved at the Annual Business Meeting last month. We have created five divisions, and I thank each of the five people who have agreed to serve as a division vice president: Lynn Breyfogle, Christine Browning, Suzanne Harper, Maggie McGatha, and Paola Sztajn.
Building professional relationships reminds us that we are part of a rich mathematics teacher education community, and it is only by working in such communities that we make fundamental changes. I am pleased to begin my service as President of AMTE, the largest U.S. organization of mathematics teacher educators, and I look forward to serving these next two years.