Abandonment of 8th Grade Algebra Requirements a Disgrace to our Educational System

I was shocked and saddened to see a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News announcing that the state of California would be eliminating its long-standing 8th grade algebra requirements. The reason given was that kids were “not ready” to learn algebra by 8th grade. If they are not ready by 8th grade, when [...]


Honors Algebra Gets Failing Grade When it Comes to Providing Advanced Math Education

Through the years, we have seen plenty of students with good math grades come to us with significant gaps in their math skills and abilities. In fact, we have built an entire business around providing a rigorous, systematic curriculum that addresses these gaps. But it’s still shocking to see how many high school students in [...]


Math Anxiety Shown to Activate Brain’s Pain Networks

Even for a swimmer the prospect of having to swim across the ocean would create a great deal of stress – perhaps even enough to trigger physical pain. It’s natural to feel stress and anxiety when we are confronted with tasks that are beyond our abilities. So why should we be surprised at the attached article’s assertion [...]


RSM Featured in Newton TAB

RSM was profiled in the Newton TAB on February 20, 2013.  The full-page article by Trevor Jones did an excellent job capturing what is special about our math school.  RSM-Newton Principal Ralitsa Dimitrova and some of her 5th graders were featured in photography.  The students who participated in the photo shoot included Maria Bacanurschi, Zandra Baskin, [...]

Deep Practice in Mathematics in Early Years Eliminates Need for SAT Test Prep

In anticipation of the March SAT, high school students all over the country will be scrambling to enroll in SAT prep classes at mass market test prep centers.   Guided by inexperienced teaching staff, some of whom are still in college, these high school students will cram to memorize formulas and learn tricks for attaining a [...]


Why Not Let Students Know Everybody’s Score?

Should a teacher return a marked quiz face down to protect a student’s privacy, or face up, where it can be seen by the entire class?

At Russian School of Mathematics, we distribute checked tests face up. It’s a practice that years ago brought me into a spirited discussion with the father of a bright fifth grader I’ll call Mike.

Tags :


Does America Need A Common Curriculum?

In math there are very important topics that must be studied in a proper sequence. Unfortunately current lack of curriculum allows teachers to occasionally skip some subjects altogether. I once realized that one of my ten grade students had no idea about circles. When I brought it up with his public school teacher, she answered to my utmost amazement — “I don’t do circles, I don’t like them.” With all my respect to local control this is not a way to teach math. Circle must be studied whether the student goes to school in Hawaii, Minnesota, or Massachusetts.


International Tests Show US Teens in 25th Place in Math

The latest results from the OECD show that while US teenagers are improving in reading, they continue to lag behind their peers internationally in science and especially in math. On the other hand, Asian countries continue to dominate the test (with a fairly stunning result from China in particular this year).

Tags : , , ,


From Russia With Math (My Recent Op-Ed in the Jewish Advocate)

As some of you may know, I was deeply affected when watching the recent film Waiting for Superman. The film (by the director of “An Inconvenient Truth”) looks at the state of America’s public education system through the stories of families who due to failing urban schools or tracking in suburban schools are looking for options to give their children a great eduction. … I think the reason I was so moved by the film is the contrast I feel, as a Russian immigrant, between the great prosperity offered by America to those with a great education and the lack of availability of that education in the public system.

Tags : ,

The Myth of the Gender Ability Gap

While the world argues over the cause of the gender achievement gap in math and science, it’s interesting that at RSM there is no gap. There has never been one in fact. Our female students are and have been on completely equal intellectual footing as their male peers.

Tags : , , , , ,