Yes, the question is rhetorical, but it is not just rhetorical.
[W]ho are the education academics in Australia who specialise in mathematics teaching and who advocate for explicit teaching, times tables etc.?
Ashman has a decently large following, but the replies to his question were tellingly non-existent. The only specific people suggested were the very non-Australian Jim Milgram, a hard core Stanford mathematician who took time off to wallop Jo Boaler, and Stephen Norton, a Griffith University education academic who appears solid and thoughtful, and barely visible. Anyone else?
Ashman clearly seems to doubt it. After an amusingly inflammatory tweet, Ashman wrote in some detail why he thinks so little of so much maths ed research. And, to pretty much clinch the case for the They Don’t Exist side, we have the word of Professor Catherine Attard.
Professor Attard is an education academic at Western Sydney University, and is a member of AMSI’s Advisory Panel. Professor Attard is also currently president of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, the professional body for Australian maths ed academics, through which she also occupies MERGA’s seat on the NCMS. MERGA, of course, was one of the signers of the idiotic joint statement pre-supporting the draft mathematics curriculum.
A few weeks ago, after AMSI traitored the joint statement and called for a halt of the current curriculum review process, the Sydney Morning Herald published a tendentious article, reporting that “maths experts” were still on board with the draft changes to the curriculum. We hope to soon write directly about this very silly article, but the point here is that Professor Attard was one of the quoted “maths experts”.
Ignoring Professor Attard’s (notably tepid) support for the draft curriculum, the article quotes her on the opinion of MERGA’s members:
“I haven’t been contacted by any of [MERGA’s] members who are particularly concerned about anything [in the draft curriculum].”
There is no reason to doubt that Professor Attard is telling the truth. What, then, does her truth tell us?
It would appear that not a single MERGA member was sufficiently “concerned” to raise the draft curriculum with MERGA’s president. It seems that not a single maths ed academic was sufficiently horrified by the objective awfulness of the draft curriculum to raise the alarm through their professional body. Not one.
And there, it seems, in a nutshell, you have Australian Mathematics Education.