The IEM Dads
In 2009, two Honolulu parents met at the preschool their children attended together. The parents found they had similar backgrounds and interests - childhoods in Japan, international careers in Finance and Production, and a shared passion for finding the best education possible for their children.
As leaders in their own industries, both Finance Dad and Production Dad know firsthand what skills and qualities are needed for success in today's competitive job market. They look for problem solvers and quick thinkers. They look for people who communicate effectively in a variety of different situations, people who see the big picture as well as analyze details, people who ask thoughtful questions.
The Dads faced a puzzle: what is the common thread between ALL of these diverse skill sets? They know what to look for in the grown-up world, but how does that apply to early childhood learning? What makes a child grow into a successful adult?
As they analyzed their own diverse experiences, the Dads kept coming up with the same theme. Finance Dad put it best: "I can teach an engineer finance, but I cannot teach an investment banker engineering." The Dads were looking for the disposition for analysis and flexible thinking.The Dads' answer to their puzzle: complex, high-level, applied MATHEMATICS.
- The practice of high-level mathematics is flexible and friendly – mathematicians work together, communicating often, and revising their ideas again and again. However, too often people think of math as rigid and isolating.
- Math is not just arithmetic. The whole of mathematics includes logic, space, time, relationships, and much, much more. Math is not just about rules; math is about reasons.
- Most schools in the US teach math by repetition and memorization, skills that have little to do with the mathematics used in the workplace and everyday life.
- The strongest growth in the global job market is in math-centric areas – engineering, technology, medicine, and other sciences.
Now, The Dads began to worry that their young children, and all US children, were falling behind the global standard. A recent assessment of mathematics performance around the world ranked the US 28th out of 40 developed countries. When the level of spending is taken into account, the US is ranked dead last.1
After researching countless schools and programs in Hawaii, and after broadening their search to the mainland US, the two parents realized their children couldn't get the exposure and experience that they were looking for.
Clearly, The Dads needed to look beyond the US. But where?
- One-third of NASA engineers are India-educated.
- One-third of Apple employees are India-educated/India-based.
- One-third of Google employees are India-educated/India-based.2
To add to these statistics, Finance Dad realized his company hires most of its programmers from India. Also, Production Dad reported his experience of the immensely popular India-method schools in his Japan home.
The Dads found:
- Ivy League schools are being overwhelmed with qualified applications from international students.3
- Over 50 percent of Ph.D. candidates in engineering, economics, and physical sciences are non-US citizens.
- In the US, budget cuts on the federal and state levels left many schools paralyzed with a lack of resources to keep up with this global shift.
Since they couldn't find the right education program for their children in Hawaii nor the US, The Dads decided it was their job to discover and develop one. Recruiting their families and associates all over the world, The Dads launched a vigorous and lengthy international search for the right fit.
Finally, they found I-Math and Smart Steps. The developer of these methods, Chrysaalis, was willing to allow The Dads to bring the programs to the US. While the concept of developing the right brain is somewhat new to many parents of young children in the US, Chrysaalis has successfully implemented these methods in more than 50 locations with over 5,000 students enrolled across India.
With their support, IEM now introduces to the US the most advanced math program from India, the worldﾕs ascendant education superpower. IEM strives to provide these best educational programs to help our children keep pace with the rest of the world and give them the skills to excel.
Now, in 2012, after over a year of growth and success in Hawaii, IEM expands to California with I-Math and its sister program Smart Steps. The Smart Steps program was co-designed by Chrysaalis in India and IEM in the US.
IEM was founded by two parents with one pure goal: to provide a way for our children to develop skills to thrive in the increasingly competitive global economy, so that they can appreciate and contribute to today's world.
1 "What's Math Got to Do with It?" book by Jo Boaler
2 NHK documentary, "Etchika No Kagami," aired 2009
3 Admissions Interview Committee, University of Pennsylvania