Fifty Years of Math Instruction
Fifty Years of Math Instruction in the USA , 1959  2009
Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $2.58. The counter girl took my $ 3.00. I dug for my change and pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters , but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried. Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s: 1. Teaching Math In 1950s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit? 2. Teaching Math In 1960s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit? 3. Teaching Math In 1970s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit? 4. Teaching Math In 1980s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20. 5. Teaching Math In 1990s A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it's ok.) 6. Teaching Math In 2009 Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho? 
When my oldest was accepted to Columbia Law, she had to take a basic skills test  English & Math. Seems that many college graduates today can't write a simple paper or do math without a calculator.
When I went into the Manpower career field in the Air Force (precomputers), we were taught to do correlation & regression analysis with a yellow legal pad, a pencil, and an HP calculator  that was fun I tell ya... 
Here's dating myself a bit, but when my dad was going back to school for Electrical Engineering, he had to save up for like a month to get a calculator.
I can remember he and my mom agonizing over the purchase at the kitchen table. It was going to be something like $90 and it did ( 4 ) functions ( add, subtract, multiply & divide ). It took my dad about a week to be able to use it with his homework & trust the results. :eek: And my old man was a member of MENSA later on in life, so he wasn't exactly a slouch. I fear that today's generation lacks the ability to take items from the Interwebz and translate to a finished product at the end of their wrists. Which is probably one of the reasons I dont have kids.... JD 
That is a funny post, but i taught Accounting principles at night, at a community college for about 10 years, and i can tell you that a good percentage of those kids had more trouble than i could've imagined on the BASIC math in that class. It wasn't anything past very basic algebra, veeery basic. It was sad, especially considering these kids made it out of high school & were continuing their educations. The Friday night classes were the best, mostly geezers & working peeps, a much more capable group, generally.

It is the way they are teaching math in the schools.
My daughter came home last week with math home work on the distrubitive property. The question was 3(4+9) = They had her write it out like this (3*4+3*9) = 3(4+9)= 3(13) = 13*3= 39 all that for 3(4+9) = 12+27= 39 Then they do some crazy stuff like this. 123*32= 123 *32 100 * 30= 3000 100 * 2 = 200 20 * 30 = 600 20 * 2 = 40 3 * 30 = 90 3 * 2 = 6 now add 3000+200= 3200+600= 3800+40= 3840+90= 3930+6= 3936 to do this 123 *32 0246 3690 3936 The new method has 13 steps to do mine has 8 at the most. Why do you think these kids are not learning math? Plus they hear parents say all the time "I am not good at math", "I can't do math", " I hate math". They hear it everyday so it sinks in as it is acceptable to not know a lot of math. Plus I am sure that kids today are getting dumber by the second. My school uses a program called everyday math. This is how they teach it. You do the beginning of addition then move to the beginning of subtraction, then most to the beginning of multiplication, then the beginning of division, then the beginning of fractions. Now you go back to the 2 level and go threw it all over again then you do the third level and do it all over again SO they are adding a little slice of pie to each every time you go threw it. They don't teach the kids addition then teach them subtraction then so on and so forth. It is so stupid and math scores are horrible 
This happened to me two days ago...I bought some deodorant that was on sale and clearly labeled $2.80. The person at the register rings me up and I discover that the deodorant rang up at $4.29. I say "WTF" and she calls the manager who is quick to apologize. He looks all of 18 years old, but takes me to a side register and starts puzzling over the math. "How much was it? How much did you pay?" He reaches into the till and hands me three dollars and asks, "Is that okay?" I say, "Sh*t yeah, it is."
I'm not particularly brilliant with numbers, but we DID go over adding and subtracting in school. 
Anymore I don't even give the change unless I have exact change if there is a younster at the register. If an older person is working the register, I have no problem handing over $5.03 for something that is $4.53.

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Do that math! 
If I am going to give the clerk any change, I first give the coins, then the bills. That way they don't input the amount tendered until I have given them all I am going to give them.

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