Was Albert Einstein really a bad student who failed math?

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“There is huge news in the science world: Scientists just announced that they have detected gravitational waves from the merging of two black holes in deep space — something predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. The finding serves to underscore — again — the prodigious genius of Einstein, a theoretical physicist whose work fundamentally changed the way humans view and understand their world…There are also commonly held aspects of his childhood and education that seem to conflict with the broad genius that he was. That he was a lazy child. That he was a bad student who flunked math. That he had a learning disability. How much of this is true?”(more)

Is more physical education at school linked to higher student math scores?

The Washington Post – Perry Stein

“The amount of time students spend doing physical activity in school appears to be linked to higher standardized math scores in D.C. schools, according to a new American University study that examined the success of the city’s Healthy Schools Act and found that schools offering more physical activity had significantly better math success…Schools across D.C. struggled to meet those targets for physical education, but those that provided about 90 minutes each week saw higher standardized math scores, according to the report.”(more)

How U.S. Students Stack Up in Math, Reading and Science

U.S. News & World Report – Lauren Camera

“More than 1 in 4 15-year-olds living in economically developed countries – some 13 million students – do not have a basic level of knowledge in at least one of the three core subjects: math, reading and science. In some countries, the statistic is worse, with more than 1 in 2 students lacking such baseline proficiency. And that poor performance holds ramifications that reach far beyond just a report card. Those are just some of the top-line findings tucked inside a 212-page report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, which analyzed data from the 64 countries that participated in the latest international education assessment, known as the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA. “It is urgent to get this right,” said Andreas Schleicher, director for education and skills at the OECD and an author of the report. “Students who perform poorly at age 15 face a high risk of dropping out of school altogether, and when a large share of the population lacks basic skills, a country’s long-term economic growth is severely compromised.””(more)

The Math Revolution

The Atlantic – Peg Tyre

“On a sultry evening last July, a tall, soft-spoken 17-year-old named David Stoner and nearly 600 other math whizzes from all over the world sat huddled in small groups around wicker bistro tables, talking in low voices and obsessively refreshing the browsers on their laptops. The air in the cavernous lobby of the Lotus Hotel Pang Suan Kaew in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was humid, recalls Stoner, whose light South Carolina accent warms his carefully chosen words. The tension in the room made it seem especially heavy, like the atmosphere at a high-stakes poker tournament. Stoner and five teammates were representing the United States in the 56th International Mathematical Olympiad. They figured they’d done pretty well over the two days of competition. God knows, they’d trained hard. Stoner, like his teammates, had endured a grueling regime for more than a year—practicing tricky problems over breakfast before school and taking on more problems late into the evening after he completed the homework for his college-level math classes. Sometimes, he sketched out proofs on the large dry-erase board his dad had installed in his bedroom. Most nights, he put himself to sleep reading books like New Problems in Euclidean Geometry and An Introduction to Diophantine Equations.”(more)

Many parents hated Common Core math at first, before figuring it out

The Washington Post – Jay Mathews

“I am at that stage in life when I have more time to watch television and yet loathe nearly every bit of entertainment I see in prime time. Instead, I am watching the presidential debates, hoping for some lively exchanges on education. That hasn’t happened. The Republicans dismiss the Common Core State Standards, the hot issue of the moment, in two words or fewer. The standards are “a disaster,” Donald Trump said. The Democrats seem to ignore them entirely, unless I missed something while getting more fiber-fortified water.”(more)

The Math Paradox: What Japan Wants to Learn from the West

Ed Surge – Tomoe Hashimoto

“When it comes to teaching math and science, is the grass always greener across the Pacific Ocean? Last July, a team of US students edged out teams from China and South Korea to take first place in the 2015 International Math Olympiad—their first win in 21 years. Japan, considered by many to be a country that is almost naturally good at math, didn’t even place in the competition. In fact, an increasing number of Japanese educators believe that they are in the midst of a math motivation crisis. And they’re looking to the West for pedagogical inspiration. In contrast, the most recent PISA rankings clearly demonstrate that Asian countries have been outperforming Western nations in math over the past decade, with the top seven countries all in Asia—including Japan. As a result, some Western educators have begun to import Asian approaches to learning math.”(more)