In 1982 Maisha, Moses' oldest daughter, was enrolled in the eighth grade of the open program of a local public school, the Martin Luther King. She began to complain to her father about learning math at school and at home. She complained that she already knew the math she was doing in school and didn't want to study algebra at home with her father. Moses decided that the only way to get Maisha to learn algebra was to have her do it in school. He talked to Maisha's teacher and she approved his plan for teaching his daughter algebra during the regular math class. At the teacher's suggestion, he took on three other students who were interested in learning algebra. Thus the Algebra Project was born with a class of four students who sat in a corner of the classroom and were taught algebra by Moses. That spring, Maisha and two of the other students became the first students in the history of the King school to take and pass the citywide algebra test. When Maisha and these two students went on to their local high school Cambridge Rindge and Latin they studied geometry and other college preparatory math courses.
The Algebra Project had just been started and already it had completed
one of its main goals: to make it possible for students to take college
math prep courses in high school. Prior to the initiation of The Algebra
Project, only a small percentage of students from the Martin Luther King,
mostly white upper class students, were eligible to take these math courses.
Moses did not restrict his work to the most capable students. He took
a particular interest in the students who were struggling with math or
those who didn't think that they could do math.