While many of us exited the American public school system having been told we're not "math people" by a teacher, family member, or even ourselves, it's time to re-examine the myth of the "math person" and consider the irreparable damage we do to a child's future by adding this math anxiety to their educational journey.
While we continue to double down on the century-and-a-half-old advice for math instruction, we are not adequately preparing all of our young people for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs of the future.
Instead of highlighting the relevance of math concepts to the modern world and encouraging kids to embrace the process and struggle, we often declare that it's perfectly fine to just "not be a math person."
What's worse, through the process of "tracking," or placing students in math classes based on early performance, we systematically tell some kids (who are disproportionately Black, Brown and low-income students) they aren't as gifted as their peers and preemptively limit their opportunities in life.
Simply put, we cannot allow the failures of adults or the dated practices we use for math instruction continue to lead to these segregated outcomes in a world increasingly dominated by STEM fields.