PHOTO-ILLUSTRATION BY FORTUNE; ORIGINAL PHOTOS: MONEY: ANNA KIM — GETTY IMAGES; CAP: ESKAY LIM — EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES

Are you a parent, a teacher, a school administrator, or are you someone who has concerns for our young people and how they manage their finances? Do you believe that students that are just about ready to enter the work-a-day world, are ready to make good financial choices? Were you?

For a moment I would ask you to think back on your own path to financial literacy and tell me the one thing that someone, considered “financially literate”, should truly understand — -and I mean cold! Give it a bit of a think before progressing with this article.

As a…


Photo from: Myths of the Mirror

Are you a word snob?

I have apparently become a member of the word police, and you know what, I don’t care!

It wasn’t until just recently that I realized how much of a word snob I have become. After a meeting, a colleague said to me “Do you always feel the need to challenge my choice of words?” To which I replied, “Well, yes. Can’t you hear yourself using such loaded words? ”.

For the life of me I don’t remember being so particular, fussy, or (God forbid) judgmental with the choice of words used by others. …


Michael, you first have to understand that you’d be a luxury item”. Hmmm, imagine that! I’ve had many thoughts about myself over these many years, but luxury item was never one of them.

This was the response I received from a school administrator not long after announcing a few years back that I was going to be retiring from my job as a high school math teacher to pursue work as a school data analyst. …


Can we talk? For those of you old enough to remember her, this was a question made famous by the late Joan Rivers.

While COVID-19 still swirls around us, my complaint may seem quite snarky, perhaps you’ll even conclude snobby; I get it. So, what is my complaint? What is it that has caused me to write this article? Here it is…The abuse of first name familiarity.

Has this type of introduction ever happened to you? In my case I introduce myself, “Hi my name is Michael”. The person on the receiving end of my introduction responds, “Hi Mike, how…


About six years ago I had a programming language, R, unexpectedly dropped in my lap. I had taken an on-line Coursera course and heard that some familiarity with R (whatever that was) was expected.

Although I had zero coding experience (but always interested in numbers) I found R magical from the start and dedicated myself to learning how to use R.

And now, some six years later, I will be retiring at the end of this school year as a teacher of mathematics at the high school level. …


So, what is the meaning of the term “data-driven”? As a public high school teacher, I have heard this term used repeatedly in relation to improving state-wide test scores and still, it has always felt like a bumper sticker slogan; We here atX” high school are data driven! Sounds impressive for sure, but what does it mean in practice?

Inspired by Dr. Simon Jackson’s Medium article, “Five flavors of decision-making with data”, I decided to have a go at defining this term myself and have devised my own set of data standards. …

Michael Mahoney

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