“At the beginning, it was, ‘Let me see if I can help a few kids out,’” says Kahn, co-founder of Math Corps and director of the WSU Center for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics. “Now it’s, ‘Let me see if I can teach kids to care about themselves and each other.’”
A Wayne State faculty member since 1981, Kahn started his after-school tutoring with high school dropouts. After five years of working with 20 students, he realized that the need stretched further. That’s when he was introduced to Leonard Boehm, who was working for Detroit Public Schools. Boehm spent Saturdays teaching fifth- and sixth-graders, and he was looking for assistance — and the rest is history.
For Steve Kahn, Math Corps isn’t just about teaching Detroit youth algebraic equations — it’s about helping them succeed at life.
“I went to this school, watched this class of regular kids and was amazed,” Kahn says. “I saw a class with everyone on the edges of their seats — every kid totally into it. I was stunned. I was moved. And I was in.”
Together, Kahn and Boehm founded Math Corps in 1991. A combined academic and mentoring program, it reaches Detroit Public Schools Community District students in grades 6-12. Today, Math Corps features a summer camp, year-round Saturday programs and enrichment courses for elementary schoolchildren.
Since 1995, best estimates place the high school graduation rate for Math Corps students at about 90 percent, with nearly 90 percent of those students going on to college or the military.