The most interesting session I attended at NCTM wasn’t listed in the program book. It stretched the duration of the conference and featured lots of different speakers. Its unofficial title was “What Will NCTM Look Like in Ten Years?”
I don’t have answers, but over the course of many spontaneous conversations between concerned members, my questions became sharper.
- What happens to this organization as its current membership retires?
- What purpose do conferences serve in 2017, in an age of prevalent online community?
- How can we make NCTM’s membership more representative of the entire national corps of math teachers and the students they teach?
And then the thought:
- If NCTM didn’t exist and we built an organization dedicated to the advancement of mathematics instruction from scratch, what would that look like?
There isn’t any chance it would look exactly like the organization we have now. That’s the advantage of a blank slate.
So how would we rebuild systems for:
- … equity.
- … publications.
- … conferences.
- … advocacy.
- … community.
- … purpose.
Like I said: my questions are sharper, but I don’t have answers. I am curious which conferences and organizations outside of math education are expanding their reach and meeting the needs of more and more members.
Ok friends, lots to unpack in this short post. Let's get to work.— Bob Lochel (@bobloch) April 13, 2017
For me, what do outreach, "membership" and message feel like in 2017? https://t.co/mh8q5lKCoJ
2017 Apr 24. I’m told that at least one member of NCTM’s leadership was offended by this post. That’s disappointing.
I’m asking these questions about NCTM’s future and how it can best serve the needs of a changing membership in a changing professional development environment out of a sincere interest in helping with that transformation. I’m also surprised that any NCTM leader would be surprised by these questions. If these questions aren’t asked on a daily basis at NCTM HQ in Reston, VA, I worry about our ability to successfully make that transformation.