There’s been a lot of press highlighting the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in education and describing how the United States has fallen behind our international peers in these disciplines. 

According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science study (TIMSS), 8th-grade students in the United States are testing just barely over the average of our international peers. Specific to mathematical concepts (my particular strength), eight graders most desperately struggled with geometry (21 countries had higher average scores), followed by data & chance and numbers (14 countries had higher average scores). Where we did best was in algebra (only 9 countries had higher average scores). The next TIMSS study will be published in November 2016.

For African-American students, the attainment of STEM skills are far harder to acquire. I learned recently that US Schools are more racially and economically segregated than they were 40-years ago. As a result, less than one-third of public high schools serving predominately black students offer calculus and only about 40 percent offer physics. But the bigger problem is that people of color have to overcome a societal narrative of low expectations when it comes to their educational attainment, especially when it comes to math. 

While white people in 2011 held 71% of STEM jobs and Asians held 15%, my black counterparts only held 6%! Research has shown that greater diversity in the workforce leads to better financial performance overall.

I have decided it’s important for me to play my part in helping America add 1 million more STEM professionals by 2022 to stay competitive. The motto I propose to my peers is this: "Change your mindset to change your life."

My whole life I’ve always been the smart kid in the class. I started to study my classmates' behaviors when I noticed I was the only one ever confident enough to raise my hand and give the answer. 

Of course my teachers would always tell me I can’t answer because they all knew I knew the answer and to give other kids a try. 

Kids would also come to me when they needed help too. Once I figured out that I could simply be getting paid by helping other kids in math I instantly took action. 

Also I thought my math tutoring business would be a great idea because I’m a kid and sometimes other students learn better from people of their peer group. It was important that I focused on this particular issue because I hate the fact that African American kids always score lower than other ethnicities and I wanted to be the start of helping kids in my community improve. I just feel like math is never going away and we all need to know basic math. Why not help others and get paid while doing it?

  • My name is Sade Ried, I am 14 years old, and I’m a teen business owner from Detroit, Michigan. There are so many things I’m interested in such as entrepreneurship books, starting a podcast, and even web design. The website for my math tutoring business was actually created all by me using Wordpress, but I’m currently learning coding languages such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript so my next business website can be completely coded by me.


Advice for my peers

MathSadeWay differs from any other math tutor because I’m a kid. People are not expecting a young kid to take their time to build a website and start a business. Trust me, there has been times when a parent would say no I can’t tutor their child because I’m a kid myself. I did not let that stop me from running my  business though. There has been many kids at my school who instantly started to show improvement just after a few weeks working with me.

Finding the right price took me a while to determine. I decided to charge $10/hr because I’m not an adult and it’s not really expensive. Although kids who attended the same school as me were only charged $7/hr because it was a school discount and I could easily tutor them at school rather than going to the library.

The biggest thing to always remember when doing anything, it doesn't even have to be running a business, but you are always going to have doubters and let them be the ones to motivate you even more. This is a quote that I made up when it comes to starting a business and taking action. “Don't ask how, Just start Now!”

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