Date: Jan 9, 2013 1:45 PM
Author: Michael Paul Goldenberg
Subject: Update about "The community of mathematics educators: Join in<br> defending fun

This message is from Jeremy Kilpatrick who started the petition "The community of mathematics educators: Join in defending fundamental values.," which you signed on Change.org.

Colleagues:

I?m writing to inform you of the status of this petition, which has gone to Stanford University?s president and provost. Jo reports that Stanford is strongly supporting and encouraging her work. There are serious legal constraints that restrict the removal of Jim Milgram?s writing, no matter how incorrect and malicious it is, but Stanford?s support reinforces their respect for Jo?s work.

On a personal note, Jo also reports that after many years of attacks stemming from Milgram and Bishop?s writing, she has felt great support from this community and wants to extend her heartfelt thanks to all those who took part in this campaign and supported the continuation of her research.

Here is what Jo says:

We are closing the petition with the knowledge that the support of so many people has been extremely important to our shared cause and the petition was just the start of our work together. We have created a community of people who stand against public harassment intended to suppress scholarship and ideas. When researchers, educators, humanists, and others have been attacked for their work in the past, they have often stood alone, not knowing who would support them. This petition has shown that there are many of us who have either been attacked for honest work or are simply willing to stand together against oppressive forces. A Facebook page has now been set up for all those who signed the petition and would like to keep a united front. We gain strength in numbers. We can, and we should, keep each other informed of any attacks or movements to suppress work so that we will always be strong in the future. The Facebook group can be joined at https://www.facebook.com/StandingUpTo!
AcademicBullying Please join this group.

And here is the response that Stanford has made to our petition:
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In response to your question, Stanford University wishes to reiterate its strong support for the work of Stanford School of Education Professor Jo Boaler. In 2005, an individual made certain allegations that prompted an inquiry into Dr. Boaler?s research study that later appeared as ?Creating Mathematical Futures through an Equitable Teaching Approach: The Case of Railside School? (Teachers College Record, 2008, 110(3), 608?645). Under Stanford policy (and as required by law), the University has an obligation to look into such allegations to determine whether falsification or fabrication of research data or results are being alleged.

The Stanford committee carefully reviewed Dr. Boaler?s study and the allegations that were being made. It concluded that the concerns expressed by the complainant did not demonstrate any evidence of fabrication or falsification. The committee concluded as follows:

?We understand that there is a currently ongoing (and apparently passionate) debate in the mathematics education field concerning the best approaches and methods to be applied in teaching mathematics. It is not our task under Stanford?s policy to determine who is ?right? and who is ?wrong? in this academic debate. We do note that Dr. Boaler?s responses to the questions put to her related to her report were thorough, thoughtful and offered her scientific rationale for each of the questions underlying the allegations. We found no evidence of scientific misconduct or fraudulent behavior related to the content of the report in question. In short we find that the allegations (such as they are) of scientific misconduct do not have substance.? (Emphasis added)

The committee therefore recommended that?as a result of its findings?no further investigation was warranted. The University adopted that recommendation.

Dr. Boaler is a nationally respected scholar in the field of math education. Stanford has provided extensive support for Dr. Boaler as she has engaged in scholarship in this field, which is one in which there is wide- ranging academic opinion. Stanford respects the fundamental principle of academic freedom: the merits of a position are to be determined by scholarly debate.
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I would like to express my thanks to all who signed the petition and to those of you who provided comments on it. This has been a milestone in the coming together of our community of mathematics educators.

Jeremy