Math Education Revolution – The Last Piece Is Easy & Cheap!

The math education revolution has been growing. Last year Salman Khan and the Gates Foundation brought Khan Academy to everyone in the world with a computer.

Dan Meyer jumped into the ring with his math class makeover. With his Any Questions? and Three Acts, he’s fighting the good fight to get kids to learn math.

Social learning math games like Sokikom, iPhone apps like Motion Math and face to face programs like Mathnasium have joined the math education revolution, too. Thousands of tutors are taking part.

Experts all over are helping kids understand that math is important, necessary and valuable to learn.

And yet, children still avoid math!

Kids still resist math homework and avoid participating in math class. Why?

Because everyone knows that math is boring, hard and has nothing to do with real life. Nobody really likes it – unless they’re an engineer or accountant.

Math teachers are mean and professors write math books just to mess people up.

Everyone knows this.

Who is this “Everyone”?


Yup – you and me.

When you hear people talk about math or math education, what do they say? Anything positive?

The best I’ve ever heard was, “Actually, I kinda like math.”

Which means, “I know it’s not cool, and I’m sorry for saying it, but I like math.”

Would you do something nobody liked?

No! Of course you wouldn’t. At least not on a regular basis.

If everyone you knew and respected avoided something – you would too. If all your friends jumped off a cliff – so would you.

We’re human. That’s what we do. We stick together.

So we’re losing the math education revolution.

By the very design of our society, Khan Academy, Sokikom, teachers, tutors and everything designed to help kids learn math are failures. The math eduction revolution is bust.

We want kids to learn math because it’s important. Math is necessary and valuable to learn.

But since nobody really likes math, or even does math, kids aren’t buying it.

And I can’t blame them.

Is it fixable?

At this point it’s easy to throw in the towel. Give up. Quit. Decide that the world is going to end up like that movie Idiocracy.

But we’re so close to the solution.

The solution involves something that’s very cheap – and research based!

Ready for it?

The missing piece of the math education revolution is that we need to teach parents positive influence skills to encourage math.

What? Will that work?

We have seen this happen with reading – remember the Reading is Fundamental campaign of the 80s? It’s still going strong along with other programs like the “Read 3” program from HEB. Parents are encouraged, even pushed, by teachers to read to their children every day.

These efforts have changed the culture in our world so that reading is viewed as something “everybody does.” Parents now have positive influence skills in encouraging reading.

And those skills have extended across our entire culture!

That’s the missing piece!

Parents can develop the same skills for encouraging math. And when we do, everything will change.

Just like it did with reading.

When parents start talking about math in a positive way, all of society will.

The math education revolution will succeed!

It’s your turn…

If you’re a parent, learn how to use some positive math talk. Join a program like That’s Math, read articles on Math for Grownups or any other math blog that strikes your fancy.

If you’re a math teacher, blogger, tutor or developer of math products – make something teaching parents how to talk positively about math. We’re developing That’s Math, but there needs to be more of these.

Images by woodleywonderworks on, CC BY.

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