This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Is 26% proficiency in math acceptable to you? That’s the question teacher and Synergy Academies Founder Dr. Randy Palisoc asks the TEDxManhattanBeach audience. With only 26% of U.S. twelfth graders proficient in mathematics, Randy shares his solution: teach math as a language. Putting words back into math lessons enables even the youngest school-age minds to grasp complex concepts, such as fractions, that are traditionally thought of as abstract and difficult to understand. In his stunningly simple and effective approach, math no longer creates problems for kids but solves them.

Randy Palisoc is a passionate educator, known for making math easy. A founder of the five-time national award winning Synergy Academies, Randy is proud to identify Synergy as an “in spite of” school. In spite of the fact that its students were disadvantaged and in spite of the fact that it did not have its own facility and had to pack up its classrooms every single week, his school was the first and only elementary school in South Los Angeles to ever win the National Blue Ribbon Award, and was named the #1 Urban Elementary School in America in 2013.

Seeking a broader impact, Randy left Synergy this year to start Ironbox Education. One of the ways he believes we can dramatically improve America’s schools is by doing a better job teaching math to our students in a way that makes sense to them. Randy believes implementing a few changes in the way we approach math will give students the confidence and thinking skills to be more competitive in a global economy.

Favorite TED Talk: “My Invention That Made Peace With Lions”: Richard Turere

The “Game Changer” he most admires is Steve Jobs, because he had the ability to envision things we did not even know we needed or wanted.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)