A Look Into AMTE's Strategic Initiatives
While summer is a time for renewal for many of us in education, those serving AMTE have had a busy few months. For example, AMTE hosted three webinars this summer: a June webinar about digital instructional materials, a July webinar about our AMTE Standards, and an August webinar about practice-based teacher education. Our conference committees have been busy too, reading proposals and planning a rich program for our 2018 Annual Conference. We cannot mention our conference without noting that Houston, the site of the 2018 conference, along with the Gulf Region, is currently in all of our hearts and minds as the residents experience Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey, which is continuing to cause flooding throughout the region. Such public events remind us that our work with teachers and students is situated in a context that can never be separated from that which takes place where we live. Just as mathematics is not culture free, so too mathematics teacher education is not culture free.
AMTE’s plan to host the next conference in Houston, Texas, has raised important issues about equity, and in a previous post, I highlighted our thinking behind continuing to hold the conference in a state that has passed a law that allows discrimination against the LGBTQ community. We are currently working to arrange an opening session plenary at the 2018 conference that will address LGBTQ issues as they relate to mathematics teacher education, and we will also hold a special all-conference reception on Thursday at which local organizations that serve the LGBTQ community will be represented. I recognize that one way to voice our disapproval of Texas House Bill 3859 is to choose not to attend the conference; I respect that stance, but AMTE is working hard to enact another option, which is to attend the conference and stand with our LGBTQ colleagues and community members.
AMTE is committed this year to pursuing three strategic initiatives. The first is to focus on equity and social justice, and from this stance we view the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia and the response to those events. Members of the KKK and Neo-Nazis marching in the streets, chanting racial and anti-Semitic slurs and inciting violence is terrifying. When people cite racist comments or pass laws limiting the rights of homosexuals, that’s discrimination, and those who chant racial and anti-Semitic slurs should not, must not be given the same voice or equal moral status as those fighting discrimination in our society and in our schools. This is an issue about decency and about what it means to respect the values on which our country was founded and to which all teachers must be committed. AMTE’s values require us to stand with those who stand up against discrimination, in whatever form.
AMTE’s second strategic initiative is to disseminate the AMTE Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics. We are excited about the second plenary session at the 2018 conference, an interactive panel to delve into the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for new mathematics teachers. The structure for this plenary is set to foster engagement with the panel members by having break out groups, Google documents, and video conferencing. Furthermore, throughout the 2017–2018 year, the Standards will be the subject of five AMTE webinars.
AMTE’s third strategic initiative is to enact and facilitate the restructuring of the organization, and our new structure has provided the capacity to work with and for our members to continue to enhance professional learning through the five divisions: Membership; Professional Learning; Publications; Advocacy, Equity and Research; and Communications and Outreach. AMTE is more than a conference; we are an active and engaged organization, and the restructuring has helped us focus on our core goals and mission. If you would like to serve AMTE on a committee or in some other capacity, please reach out to the Vice President or board liaison associated with the pertinent division. Be a part of growing and improving the organization and making positive change in mathematics teacher education.
I wish you a productive fall!