1. The education schools, of course. Nearly all of them have Progressive Education pedigrees, and the theory behind Reform Math, Constructivism, is the latest incarnation of educational progressivism.
2. Their student indoctrinees who become teachers, principals, curriculum consultants, curriculum developers, and grant readers for the deep-pocketed education division of the National Science Foundation.
3. The media, for whom classrooms of students in groups doing hands-on projects (and people who talk about what a great new idea this is), make for more attention-grabbing news than classrooms of students in rows doing pen and paper exercises.
3. Postmodernists and Critical Theorists, suspicious of the rigid truth and authority of traditional mathematics (and the idea that 2 + 2 necessarily equals 4), and seduced by Reform Math's open-ended problems, multiple strategies, meta-cognitive reflections, and resistance to single correct answers.
4. The many mathematicians who haven't looked closely at the curriculum but tend to like (and trust) what they hear about it. Here a whole separate paragraph is necessary:
More than others, mathematicians tend to remember traditional math as gratuitously tedious: perhaps for them the drills and algorithmic practice were especially tedious, and perhaps they weren't as dependent on others are on doing these things in order to obtain mastery, making drills seem pointless to boot. As teachers of college students, mathematicians are also constantly looking at the end of the pipeline, where what emerges are college freshman who increasingly lack conceptual understanding. Told by "education experts" that Reform Math emphasizes conceptual understanding over meaningless rote learning, they conclude that Reform Math is the remedy, rather than being part of the problem.
5. Those at the opposite end of the mathematical spectrum: mathphobes and their parents. People, that is, who don't value rigorous math and who themselves, and/or whose children, are not mathematically inclined and do "better" with Reform Math's version of mathematics.
6. Lay people who either know little (or care little) about mathematics, or don't have children in school, or don't examine their children's homework assignments and compare it to what they were doing in math at the same age--and who subscribe to current middle class cultural truisms. Such people tend to love buzzwords like "hands-on", "conceptual understanding," "no one right answer," "multiple intelligences and learning styles," "child-centered," "taking ownership," and "making math relevant," as much as they flinch at "worksheets," "drill and kill," "mere calculation," "teacher-centered," "one right answer," and "dry abstraction."
7. Liberals of the knee-jerk variety who find anything traditional and authority-centered to be politically suspect; and/or who believe that traditional math instruction doesn't work for disadvantaged and/or nonwhite and/or non-Western children, and/or privileges privileged white children, thus widening the achievement gap .
On the other side? Nearly everyone who understands math deeply (at least through arithmetic, algebra, and geometry), cares about math, has taken a close look at the Reform Math curriculum, and has school-aged children.
Unfortunately, however much more qualified members of this second group are to assess Reform Math, they're far outnumbered--and out-buzzed--by those populating the educationist / postmodernist / out-of-touch mathphilic / in-touch mathphobic / middle class populist / knee-jerk liberal fronts.