PACTS: The Coalition for Change offers a case study chronicling the efforts of one urban high school district in Northern California to change its curriculum. It quantifies surveyed responses solicited from parents, administrators, curriculum leaders, teachers, and students in the district. It also assesses their level of agreement on issues relating to mathematics reform.
These agents of change constitute the PACTS Coalition. As a group, they generally agree that mathematics is a tough subject and that it should be fun; however, their level of agreement vacillates when the investigation turns to issues such as ability level grouping, the incorporation of diversity, and the question of inclusion.
In general, members of the alliance believe that the effect of reform efforts has been deleterious to the overall quality of mathematics education at their school site and in the district. Many respondents cite poor communication, ineffectual leadership, and a lack of direction as chief deterrents to effective mathematics reform; additionally, most agree that cohesion, unity, and morale among the mathematics staff in the district have suffered as a result.
Author Bill Collins shows that the varying perspectives of the PACTS Coalition is key to recognizing the complexity of educational issues while revealing the vision needed for lasting education reform.