Toolkit for change agents

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Tool Math Wars Peace Treaty

Summary

The Peace Treaty is a disarmament tool – a brief statement of common beliefs that the non-specialist public can understand. It is not a compromise, but a response to the legitimate concerns of the public, especially parents. It can be adopted as a policy of the district, circulated to the press, or by any other means of getting it to the public as a representation of what the district math leadership believes about the issues spelled out in the Treaty.

To build such a consensus, it is important also to bring in mathematicians from the local academic community who are interested in mathematics education in schools but have not adopted extreme positions. The letter and meeting agenda are designed for this purpose, complementing the text of the Peace Treaty.

Purpose

To help change agents, if and when the 'Math Wars' impact their system, to take the heat out of the exchanges by seeking common ground and civilized discussion of areas of disagreement.

Preparation and help

Public engagement specialists can be very helpful for tuning in to the ear of the public.

Benefits and adaptations

Helps focus the district on the practical center of improving mathematics rather than winning over converts to belief systems without attending to the details of what actually happens in classrooms.

Enlarges engagement of local mathematicians and others in improvement efforts. Enables well meaning people who disagree about some things to work together to improve mathematics instruction.

Costs

free - see Download

Design and development

Developed by Person Phil Daro, a self declared “aggressive pacifist” in the math wars, with the help of parents, public engagement specialists and mathematicians, mathematics educators, and teachers of good will from all sides in the math wars.

Publisher

The Toolkit Team

Strategic applications

Other comments

Do not worry about getting people to sign the treaty. You sign it and make it public. Then challenge anyone who attacks you on the grounds they are attacking what you stand for in the treaty. Dare critics to sign on or publicly expose their disagreement with it.

Do not add divisive language, even if it warms your heart. Do not use this tool as a public education tool. It is a public engagement tool. It is already understood by the public. They want to know if YOU understand it. This is not an expression of your philosophy. It is a direct response to issues framed by the public. Don’t change the subject.