As a graduate student in mathematics, I was hired as a math expert to work with teachers. Through that work, I observed many math classes and witnessed an impoverished version of mathematics being experienced by many children. I wanted to help improve their learning opportunities in mathematics and changed my focus from mathematics to mathematics education.
The CGI program seems to be helping teachers humanize mathematics and present it as a subject that is interesting, challenging, and accessible for all students. Through teachers, we are helping kids to see that they have good math ideas and are “math people.” We are doing randomized controlled trials in mathematics education and determining which programs move the needle on mathematics achievement and which don’t.
One of the biggest challenges is convincing funding agencies of the critical importance of statistics education. Statistics (also known as data analysis) is used in all aspects of business, science, and government in the modern world. I’ve had some success getting statistics-education projects funded and have published some significant findings that suggest that we know how to increase understanding of statistics, but there is much more to do.