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How Russian Math Became the Elite Math Program Among American Parents


2024-05-17 |    0

Introduction


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Join our exclusive online Russian Math BYOM classes!

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The story of Russian math in America is a fascinating tale that intertwines education, immigration, and the quest for excellence. It all began during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union and the United States engaged in a nuclear arms race. 

 

Inessa Rifkin: A Visionary Educator

Cold War Context

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union prioritized scientific excellence. To achieve this, they established specialized math-and-physics schools, nurturing their brightest young minds. Inessa Rifkin, a mechanical engineer, was part of this era.

 

Immigration and Inspiration

In the late 1980s, Inessa Rifkin and her family immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union. Armed with determination and passion for mathematics, she embarked on a mission to revolutionize math education. Rifkin’s vision was to create a program that would empower students to think deeply, reason abstractly, and fearlessly tackle complex problems.

 

The Birth of Russian School of Mathematics (RSM)

From humble beginnings—a kitchen-table project—Raiskin founded the Russian School of Mathematics (RSM). RSM’s curriculum emphasized cognitive development, abstract thinking, and the language of algebra. Students learned to love math as a subject and a powerful tool for their minds.

 

Russian Math Proliferates Across America

The RSM Legacy

Russian math schools began proliferating in the United States during the 1990s. RSM’s impact extended beyond the classroom. Thanks to the rigorous training they received, students excelled in standardized tests and mathematical Olympiads.

 

Liudmila Georgievna Peterson and BYOM

Build Your Own Math (BYOM)

Liudmila Georgievna Peterson, a renowned Russian math teacher and Doctor of Pedagogy Sciences in Moscow, developed the BYOM program. BYOM brings genuine Soviet math education to students in Russia and former CIS countries. It emphasizes independent thinking, problem-solving, and critical reasoning.

Peterson’s textbooks form the basis of BYOM, and more than 50% of the top 500 schools in Russia use them.

 

 

Alexander Kolchinsky: Bridging the Gap

A Silicon Valley Entrepreneur

At the tender age of 11, Alexander Kolchinsky recognized the superiority of Russian math education. His math teacher astutely assigned him the role of teaching his peers—an early indication of his future impact on bridging the educational gap between Russian and American students.

 

Thirty years later, having honed his skills and experiences, Alexander Kolchinsky emerged as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. His passion for bridging the educational gap persisted, and he founded Russian Math Tutors (RMT). Through RMT, Kolchinsky combined the best of both worlds—the "Pure Russian Math Program” and cutting-edge online tutoring. His vision was to make quality math education accessible to American students, ensuring that they could benefit from the rigorous and effective methods he had encountered as a young student in the Soviet Union.

 

Russian Math Tutors (RMT)

In February 2020, Kolchinsky founded Russian Math Tutors (RMT) in Silicon Valley. RMT combined the best of both worlds: the "Pure Russian Math Program” and state-of-the-art online tutoring. Leveraging the latest Learning Management System (LMS) technologies, Kolchinsky enhanced the platform, making it accessible and affordable for students across the U.S.


Flower Girl

Would you like your child to be challenged in math?

Join our exclusive online Russian Math BYOM classes!

Private Lessons | Group Lessons

 

The Pure Russian Math Program

Kolchinsky adapted the "Pure Russian Math Program,” which was influenced by over 50 years of R&D in Russia and the Soviet Union, to the U.S. standard. This program, currently taught to 1.4 million students worldwide, emphasizes deep knowledge and appreciation for mathematics. RMT ensures that every teacher adheres to the highest educational standards, making quality math education accessible to all.


Conclusion

Russian math’s journey—from the Cold War era to American classrooms—reflects the power of innovative teaching methods and the resilience of educators like Inessa Rifkin, Liudmila Peterson, and Alexander Kolchinsky. As more students benefit from this approach, the legacy of Russian Math continues to shape mathematical education in the United States.

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