I Learned What Pi Was After I Earned My Master’s Degree at UCLA

I never learned what Pi was in my public education in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I said that out loud for the first time yesterday. I was identified as “gifted,” but I was Latina and poor in failing schools in my beloved Southeast Los Angeles. I didn’t learn any math after the 5th grade. I remember Ms. Miller tried in high school, but I had to have been so far behind there was nothing to do.

I’ll never forget how Carlos Asencio desperately tried to help me, but I just didn’t “get it.” He was a math genius, two years older, and tried tutoring me. I failed two remedial math classes at East Los Angeles College because I lacked the fundamentals. I learned what the number Pi (π) was after I earned my master’s degree at UCLA.

I’m one of hundreds of thousands of kids who didn’t learn math in school. And we showed up every single day. And we are the descendants of incredible mathematicians who discovered the concept of zero! Putting my own story out there has been both painful and powerful. But I’m sharing my experience so we can talk about both educational equity, excellence, and educational quality.

Yesterday, I texted my two comadres to ask them when they learned about Pi. They learned about this number in elementary school. I was heartbroken all over again, because for years, I thought my elementary school experience was solid. I learned today that it was not. This revelation has added more fuel to this ranfla fighting for education excellence and for the little Almas and Armandos in public schools today.

We can’t let these systems have free passes anymore. We must demand excellence by any means necessary.

What do you think?

The following two tabs change content below.

Alma V. Marquez

Alma V. Marquez

Alma V. Marquez is the founder of LaComadre.org and is the founder and CEO of Del Sol Group, a communications and public affairs firm focusing on Strategy, Outreach and Leadership in Education, Voter and Civic Engagement. She specializes in parent education, politics and community organizing. She is a proud product of California public schools. She is a graduate of Huntington Park High School in Southeast LA. She also completed her all of credit recovery classes at Maxine Waters Occupational Center in Watts in order to graduate from high school. She attended East LA College and transferred to Occidental College where she earned a Bachelor's degree in English and Comparative Literary Students and Politics. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Urban Planning at UCLA. Her daughter is a junior in a charter school, chartered by LAUSD. She decided to start the LA Comadre blog because she wanted to create a platform for Latinas and education.

More Comments