Counted Out

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Counted Out investigates the biggest crises of our time—political polarization, racial and economic inequity, global pandemic and climate change–through an unexpected lens: math. 

In our current information economy, math is everywhere. The people we date, the news we see, the influence of our votes, the candidates who win elections, the education we have access to, the jobs we get—all of it is underwritten by an invisible layer of math that few of us understand, or even notice. But whether we know it or not, our numeric literacy—whether we can speak the language of math, and how well—is a critical determinant of social and economic power. 

Through a mosaic of personal stories, expert interviews, and scenes of math transformation in action, Counted Out shows what’s at risk if we keep the status quo. Do we want an America in which most of us don’t consider ourselves “math people”? Where math proficiency goes down as students grow up? Or do we want a country where anyone can understand the math that undergirds our society—and can help shape it?

The film is dedicated to Bob Moses, the civil rights leader and MacArthur genius who saw math access as the civil rights issue of our time, and whose work we follow in some of the last filmed interviews of his life. 

“Making this film convinced us that math is key to economic, gender, and racial equity in the United States, and also crucial to developing independent, critical thinkers across professions who are able to fully participate in our democracy.” 
– Vicki Abeles, Director

THOUGHT LEADERS

Robert Moses
An American educator and civil rights activist, known for his work during the Civil Rights Movement. Moses developed the nationwide Algebra Project, which emphasizes teaching algebra skills to minority students based on broad-based community organizing and collaboration.

Karim Ani
A former middle school teacher and math coach, he is the founder of Citizen Math, an online math platform that supplements math lessons for grades 6-12. Ani’s goal is to provoke questions, spark conversations and activate young minds.

Julia Angwin
An award-winning investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates the impacts of technology on society, she is also an author of several books.

Roger Antonsen
A logician, mathematician, computer scientist, author, public speaker, science communicator, and artist, he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo, and a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, California, ICERM, and Brown University.

Ben Blum-Smith
A Mathematician-in-Residence at the Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics, Blum-Smith is also Part-Time Faculty at The New School, and a Visiting Academic at the NYU Center for Data Science (CDS). He received his PhD from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and is a founding organizer of the Math and Democracy Seminar at the CDS.

Jo Boaler
A professor of mathematics education at Stanford University, and the faculty director of youcubed, she authored Experiencing School Mathematics which won the “Outstanding Book of the Year” award for education in Britain.

Erika Bullock
An Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education and Curriculum Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her research agenda consists of two key segments: conceptualizing urban mathematics education and historicizing issues in mathematics education.

Dr. Eugenia Cheng
A mathematician, educator, author, public speaker, and early pioneer of math on YouTube. She has authored several books, including How to Bake Pi, Beyond Infinity and x + y : A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender.

Keith Devlin
A British mathematician and popular science writer, he is currently the Director of the Stanford Mathematics Outreach Project in the Graduate School of Education, a co-founder and Executive Director Emeritus of the university’s H-STAR institute, a co-founder of the Stanford mediaX research network, and a Senior Researcher Emeritus at CSLI.

Jordan Ellenberg
Jordan Ellenberg is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is also a Discovery Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, where he is part of the Machine Learning group and the Institute for Foundations of Data Science. He is the author of How Not to Be Wrong.

Daniel Finkel
Founded Math for Love where he develops math games and curriculum, trains teachers, and produces professional learning materials. His goal is to give everyone the chance to fall in love with mathematics.

Maisie Gholson
After teaching high school mathematics, she now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Education. Within a Black feminist framework, Gholson’s research studies identities and relational ties to mathematics, peers, and teachers.

Rochelle Gutierrez
A professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Education, her scholarship focuses on issues of identity and power in mathematics education, paying particular attention to how race, class, and language affect teaching and learning.

Steven Levitt
The William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, he directs the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory. He co-authored Freakonomics, which spent over 2 years on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Dan Meyer
A math teacher and advocate for better math instruction. After earning his doctorate from Stanford University in math education, he became the Chief Academic Officer at Desmos where he explores the future of math, technology, and learning.

Emmanuel Schanzer
After spending several years as a program manager and developer before becoming a public high school teacher and middle school academic coach in Boston, he is now the founder and co-director of Bootstrap, a forum for teachers around the world to share and develop their math curriculum.

Alan Schoenfeld
An Affiliated Professor of Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley, he served as president of AERA and vice president of the National Academy of Education, and he holds several awards given to a pure or applied mathematician for distinguished contributions to the mathematical education of K-16 students.

Talithia Williams
An associate professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd University who is renowned for her popular TED Talk, “Own Your Body’s Data“, Dr. Williams takes sophisticated numerical concepts and makes them understandable to a wide audience.