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Think You Stink at Math? Amazon Wants to Change That.

The initiative, called "With Math I Can," hopes to change the mind-set around learning math.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

“I stink at math.”

If you have kids, you’ve probably heard that phrase — or maybe you’ve even uttered some variant of it yourself. But in a world where good jobs increasingly require good math skills, that mind-set should no longer be acceptable, according to Rohit Agarwal, general manager of Amazon’s Education business unit.

“We believe that the attitude that it’s okay not to be good at math is just becoming too common,” Agarwal said in an interview. “Developing good math skills is essential to success at life.”

With Math I Can Amazon Education Initiative

So Amazon is trying to do something about it. The company, along with partners including Stanford University and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, is launching an initiative called “With Math I Can,” in an effort to get teachers and students to change their ideas about the subject.

The initiative is centered around a dedicated website with free resources for teachers to embrace what’s known as a “growth mind-set” in the education field. That means teaching students “to embrace a challenge,” according to Agarwal. “You see effort as a path to improving, and you learn from feedback.” A counter on the website will track how many students and teachers take a pledge to change their mind-sets.

If successful, Amazon hopes that the program will also help encourage more girls to stay positive with the subject matter through middle school, when many “tend to believe they’re no longer good at math,” said Meera Vaidyanathan, the director of curriculum products at Amazon Education.

Both Agarwal and Vaidyanathan joined Amazon in 2013, when Amazon acquired TenMarks, the online math education company co-founded by Agarwal.

Here’s the video promoting the initiative:

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