Upcoming Dialogue Will Address Finding Appropriate Solutions to U.S. Education Problem

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Conversation will include leading educators from different backgrounds

As the United States continues to rank near last in education among the world’s developed nations, leaders, educators, and policymakers are struggling to find the reasons why. Even the top 5% of American students rank 23rd out of 30 developed nations. Our best are no longer good enough, and as the world speeds ahead, Americans will likely get left behind.

With these facts in mind, a dialogue will be held between two teachers, Inessa Rifkin, co-founder of the Russian School of Mathematics (RSM), the popular after-school math enrichment program, and James Watras, an influential educator who has taught for 30 years at the Waring School, a private educational institution located in Beverly, MA. Both RSM and Waring apply unique approaches to educating their students, and have had a striking record of success. The dialogue will aim to find practical solutions to improve America’s educational levels.

“Our children are on a collision course and, unfortunately, little progress has been made to help them. If they are to be competitive in the international market, they need to equal their peers internationally in skills, abilities, and knowledge,” said Inessa Rifkin from RSM. “Our education system has failed to develop these requirements in our students, and it is necessary to ensure their future success.”

The event will be moderated by Ilya Gofshteyn, a former student of both Inessa Rifkin and James Watras, who went on to become a Brown University graduate and Wall Street Economist. It is organized by The Experimental Arts & Business Club (EABC). Founded by Miriam Gofshteyn, EABC continues to organize and deliver programs that promote discussions about various social issues as well as self-expression in the arts, music and business. This dialogue on April 30th is a deliberate attempt to open the doors for creative solutions by the community for the difficult challenges we face in education in the U.S. All events are filmed for future release on local TV. The event will take place on Saturday, April 30th at 2pm in Beverly at Memorial Building Hall, 502 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA 01915.

About Inessa Rifkin
Inessa Rifkin attended an advanced math school in Russia before attaining a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. She immigrated to the US in 1988. After working for 8 years as a computer engineer in Boston's high tech industry, she founded the Russian School of Mathematics in 1997 to ensure that her own two children would be able to succeed regardless of the education provided them by their public schools .

About RSM
The Russian School of Mathematics is a unique, award-winning after-school program based on the best practices of advanced math schools in Russia and Europe and adapted to the U.S. educational environment. The company is headquartered in Newton, MA since its foundation in 1997. Currently, over 4000 students from public and private day schools attend the Russian School of Mathematics at their 8 branches; 6 more will be opened in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York in the next academic year. Additionally, RSM operates a summer camp in Sunapee, NH which also focuses on mathematics.

About James Watras
James Watras has an A.B. from Bowdoin College, an M.A.T. from Brown University, and an M. Ed from the Harvard Graduate School of Education; he has taught for 37 years in both public and private schools at all grade levels. He has worked at the Waring School for 31 years, teaching across disciplines and helping create and then chair the interdisciplinary Humanities Department as well as countless educational programs. James has been the recipient of three sabbaticals during his teaching career, visited all seven continents, and also lived and developed relationships with people and programs throughout the world. He currently serves as a consultant to the Taktse School in Gangtok, Sikkim, India and has just returned from a student trip to the Deep South, staying with families and looking at Southern Culture and the Civil Rights Movement.

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