1. Learning Outside the Lines by Natalie Landau Family Magazine

The Almost-unprecedented number of children born in Los Angeles since 1990 has been straining the resources and capabilities of the city’s already-faltering school district. Even the exclusive seams of L.A.’s private schools are splitting with an influx of fourth and fifth-graders, forcing the allocation of more space and new teachers to these grade levels. In this academic environment, it is inevitable some kids are not getting the attention they need from traditional sources.

Families feeling the crunch of this second baby boom are searching for an effective solution to the problems presented by the time consuming investment and restructuring now under way in the Los Angeles Unified District. Dissatisfied with weak academic schedules that threaten to lower their child’s chances for success, eager parents are turning to a new breed of supplementary enrichment program. The fastest growing of these, with its unique brand of attention that blends inspiration with education, is the California-based and family-operated MAC-System institute of education.

Modeled partly after the traditional juku tutoring centers in Japan and brimming with academic success of thousands of students, the MAC-System is putting an effective twist on the after school tutoring trend.

Twenty years ago, MAC Hindin and Keiko Kikekawa founded the Mathematics Achievement Center, a nonprofit after-school academy designed to enrich a child’s experience through individualized curriculum. Today, there are MAC Centers throughout Southern California, teaching everything from basic reading and language skills to advanced calculus. The centers are staffed by a family of teachers held together by core principles that emphasize critical thinking and self-realization.

MAC-System is putting an effective twist on the
after-school tutoring trend.

Each teacher in the MAC-System has a stake in the organization and is trained in the use of its original materials. The devotion to helping kids realize their full potential through effort and exploration sets MAC-System apart.

“Kids who have tried other programs and dropped out just two months into it have come to the new MAC-System and found renewed interest in learning”, says Masako Kikekawa, the daughter of Hindin and Kikekawa and both a teacher and graduate of the program.

Within MAC-System, a child is never limited to the work prescribed to his or her age group.” If a 9-year-old is bored by the prospect of computations but intrigued by the visual aspects geometry, then we will encourage them to be excited about learning it,” says Hindin, with the sort of pride oftentimes lacking in hearts of most contemporary educators.

The community is doing its best to help local learning institutions catch up with the needs of the ever-expanding population. Unfortunately, investing and restructuring is taking precious time. Eventually these kids will be entering high school, then battling for a limited number of spaces available at the nation’s top universities. With educator apathy and parental responsibility on the rise, enrichment programs such as the MAC-System are an effective way to bridge the gap between what you can offer your child and what they will need to succeed in this new academic environment.

Natalie Landau is Family co-calendar editor

2. Excerpts from New York Times Education Section

Math Centers Stress Tough Training

” … school that stresses tougher training and lessons in how to learn, not just rote memorizations …

” … Everyone applauds this type of effort,” Bill Rivera, spokesman for the Los Angeles Unified School District. “There isn’t enough time for youngsters to get all the help they deserve during the regular school day.”…”