What tribes does math ed have? How can we discover them?
Tribes are demonstrated by tribal behavior. So what do we look for? Loyalty, followers, leaders, shared experience, perceptions of common threats, common interests and a common sense of destiny and posterity.
The last is a weak point for math ed tribalism, because we don’t leave a posterity based on math ed. We have a posterity based on our real tribes, our ethny, religion, etc.
So math ed tribalism is limited in scope and intensity.
Public school teachers who earn defined benefit pensions are one tribe. They have a union, shared economic interest, and share working conditions.
College profs in math ed are another distinct math ed tribe.
Then there are math profs. They are more transient but can have some followings at times.
There are the administrator types like Arne Duncan.
There are the foundation types like Bill Gates.
There are parents.
Homeschoolers are a tribe. This is especially true if they also connect through their real tribes, their ethny and religion.
Pre-service teachers are a tribe.
Math ed vendors are in some ways a tribe, but are divided by competition. They also tend to be small entities. So they don’t have a big job market to unite them.
There are also education journalists as a tribe.
There are education oriented people from the two political parties.
There are some venture capitalist types who have an interest in education ventures such as MOOCs.
There are some people from real tribes who comment from time to time on education.
There are disparate people outside these tribes who comment on math ed.
The tribal scene of math ed has some perches for reformers or innovators within these tribes.
Bill Gates is one. Some math profs try to do this. There are the progressive math ed types.
Very very few understand the math behind elementary math. Moreover, their voice tends to be heard mostly by mathematicians.