The Math Problem: Tackling the “I’m Terrible at Math” Mentality

American boys are failing to keep pace with their mathematical peers internationally. Our test scores aside–and we are skeptical of attempts at standardized measurement–there is the deeper problem of many boys hating math and failing to learn the skills they need for professional success, and the habits of mind needed to fully appreciate reality. Heights math teacher, Dave Maxham explores the causes for this visceral reaction that so many boys have. He sums it up in four causes: the problem of standards, the problem of common core (concepts vs. algorithms), the problem of testing emphasis (data vs. algebra), and the problem of trust.

Boys should love math. Here’s a crack at identifying the problems.

Dave Maxham

About the guest:

Dave Maxham


David Maxham grew up in New Jersey and went to Rutgers College, majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Classics, also studying linguistics and psychology. Before coming to The Heights in 2013, he taught high school math in the public schools for four years, in Newark, New Jersey and Dunellen, New Jersey. He loves music and plays the piano and guitar. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Samantha, and six children.