Tag Archives: proof school

Proof school: it’s not just for math kids anymore

A while back I complained, I hope good-naturedly, about Proof School’s self-description as “a school just for math kids.”  A little Ravi told me that the website has since been revamped, and the new version, with tagline “For kids who love math,” is much more to my liking.  The phrase “math kids” is still around, but I think it presents them (us?) as less of a separate species, and more of an tribe bound by common culture:

By “math kids” we mean children who are truly talented and passionate about math. We say we’re looking for students who are internally pulled by math, not externally pushed into it. Of course, math kids have many interests beyond math or computer science–it’s more just a term of convenience and endearment, really–not an absolute. Almost a nickname. If you know any math kids, you know what we mean. Maybe you were one, once, too.

I’m OK with this!

I will say, though, that 6 occurrences of the words “passion” or “passionate” in the FAQ is too many.

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Ought there be a school just for math kids?

Proof School is a proposed San Francisco middle/high school (grades 7-12) which proposes to do three hours of higher math a day.

“THERE OUGHT TO BE A SCHOOL JUST FOR MATH KIDS,” WE SAID. “BUT THERE ISN’T ONE.”

THEN WE ASKED, “WHY DON’T WE BUILD ONE?”

It seems certain this will be a great school, given that people like Ravi Vakil, Mira Bernstein and Richard Rusczyk are involved.

But I can’t help but be slightly put off by the presentation.  “We get math kids” is used as a kind of unifying slogan — in fact, it’s even trademarked!  (I hope my quoting it here does not require some form of license.)

I think it’s bad for us to carve out “math kid” as a kind of kid, separate from all others.  I think there ought to be an amazing school like the one Ravi and friends are building, but I don’t think it ought to be “just for math kids.”

 

 

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