Monday, June 06, 2005


Go Big Ed will endeavor to answer your questions about K-12 education in the following format for the next few weeks. Send in your questions and comments, and share these with friends and colleagues. Happy summer!


Afterschooling For Math

Q. My son is going into the eighth grade. He needs help with math; we moved a few times when he was younger. We’d like to supplement his regular schooling in math so that he’ll score up to his potential on the PSAT, SAT and ACT coming up. What can we do for him this summer and next school year?

Sounds like a job for afterschooling – the systematic supplementation of public school curriculum in a top-quality private school that operates independently and after school hours.

If by some miracle you live in the Boston area, you have access to Ground Zero for afterschooling in mathematics – the
Russian School of Mathematics. That private, after-school math center now enrolls more than 700 students from K-12, including a lot of middle schoolers from some of the ritziest neighborhoods in the Boston area.

A mom who was fed up with mediocre math instruction in the public schools began the school out of her home seven years ago with her two children and a few of their friends, and reportedly is turning students away now, her school is so popular.

After the need for the service became so apparent, she went to district officials and proposed that the district pay the kids’ tuition and let them test out of the regular math class in school, if they choose to attend her school because it meets their academic needs better. But the school district would have none of that. And so parents have been paying double for their kids to learn math – once, through their taxes, to the public schools, and again, through private tuition, to the afterschool, which is what parents say is doing the better job.

Reportedly, the problem with many public school math curricula is that they are tied to the benchmarks of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Those in turn are reflected in most statewide math assessments, but mathematicians and others who are conservative about math education don’t like them because they don’t emphasize the basics.

Homework: Why not start an afterschool in your community? For inspiration, see


CALL FOR QUESTIONS: Please send your questions about any facet of K-12 education to Go Big Ed via
swilliams1@cox.net, and thanks!

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