THREE-QUARTERS OF A POUND – Marilyn Armstrong

I was out of lunch meat, so Garry went to the deli. It was Monday and they were out of everything except (sigh) turkey breast. Not my favorite, but I’m betting today is a delivery day.

Garry asked the newest lady at the counter for 3/4 of a pound of turkey breast.

Like a deer caught in headlights, she was lost. She could probably “do” a pound — or half a pound. But what was 3/4? She obviously didn’t recognize it as 75% of a pound, or even that it’s likely the line between the half pound and full pound markers.

Schools don’t teach math in any way that might be useful to those they have taught. They have gotten into systems so complicated that no one under 40 can do any math in their head. They need a calculator. Even to subtract one number from another. Oh, and they can’t count on their fingers.

Eventually, the boss stopped what he was doing and came over to rescue her.

Garry came home. He commented that there’s a scale and surely the young women (in her 20s) could tell that there was a line between half a pound and one pound and that would be the three-quarter, right?

Wrong. She doesn’t know that 3/4 (of one) = 75% (of one). Have you ever tried to explain to a clerk how to turn 99-cents into a dollar?

“Look, I’ll give you a penny and you can give me a dollar.”

“It says 99-cents.”

“So that means that if I give you a penny, you can give me a dollar.”

“It says 99-cents.”

This is because she doesn’t understand that 100 cents (pennies) equal one dollar. We are worried that our “below age 40” youngsters aren’t going to vote. I’m beginning to worry that they can’t think. Apparently, thinking is no longer taught in any school. So if you don’t get a head start at home with the whole “thinking” thing? You’re doomed.

Vote? If they don’t know that 99-cents plus a penny equal a dollar, how can we expect them to vote? Or have a grip on the issues? Or even know what kind of government we have or want?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

91 thoughts on “THREE-QUARTERS OF A POUND – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. They began to teach our kids the new system of Addition etc. here as well. What a complication that was. My step kids had already learnt the „normal“ system,,so no damage done. By the time my own kids went to school, they seemed to have gone back to the old system again. i suspect even the teachers had their problems.

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  2. I have washers & dryers here that take quarters, so I’m always trying to manipulate my change to get more of them. Of course this “advanced math” causes problems for many cashiers. I try to give them the pennies fast so they can let the computer calculate the change. God forbid they should use their brain!

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      1. God forbids Nothing – whatever you want you can do! There is just one small catch… whatever you do gets you either some credit or some debit and it’s all added up at the end by God – and He doesn’t need to use a calculator!! 🙂

        ( Not using your brain is definitely a debit – unless your Heart is adequate for the task.)

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        1. Hey, Bob. Speaking of you know who. — One of the new fall shows on the CBS TV fall lineup is something called – “God Friended Me”. We saw some preview scenes. Think we’ll skip this one.

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            1. Update: Saw an ad for ‘God Friended Me’ coming ‘soon’ on our TV here on the weekend! Curiously it was not on the CBS-owned channel, but our ‘most popular’ commercial channel? Seems we no longer have to wait years for US shows to be played here anymore 😉

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  3. I remember “new math” coming in when I was at school in the sixties and honestly I did not see the point of it. It seemed a lot of mucking around to do something that was not that hard the way we were already doing it. Australia went from pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency in 1966 and over the next few years from Fahrenheit to Celsius and metric instead of imperial measurements. I survived the change over I don’t know how kids of today would. Maybe they wouldn’t notice though as they don’t do math anyway.. Most shops have electronic cash registers so they have not learned to make change by counting it back. People of my generation often comment about that when I do it at the Op Shop. Our cash register is very basic and doesn’t even ring up amounts. We do everything in our heads or on paper except for EFTPOS. That’s another point, with cards and now phone’s available to pay for things many youngsters never handle money.

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    1. Tas, i was never good at Math. I had to go to summer school classes to pass Intermediate Algebra in High School. I passed even though I didn’t know what I was doing. i did very well with numbers during my working years when it came to fees, salary and contract negotiations. Funny about that, eh?

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      1. We learn the stuff we feel will be useful to us. I was always good at those sums involving items on a shopping list and subtracting a discount. I liked algebra but more as a puzzle as I didn’t see what I’d use it for in real life.

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          1. By ‘conceptual’ does that mean you’re supposed to be able to transfer the one mathematical concept method into any ‘real world’ situation once you have ‘got’ the concept, in theory???

            Most folk don’t even seem to be able to transfer the concept of adding and subtracting dollars and cents into checking a shopping docket or reading a bank statement so how did those ‘educators’ think they were going to handle such a broad, diverse and shady concept like conceptual math???

            Teaching someone to enjoy and not hate Mathematics would be MY educational concept! 🙂

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              1. I guess that’s the price we pay for having an Education ‘System’ that most of us end up in of one kind or another. ‘Standardised, one size fits all teaching… and we both know it doesn’t fit all!

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                1. Except for math and anything math-related, I was good at everything else. I read a lot, so if I could learn by reading, I got it. But math was meaningless to me. I managed to pass tests by essentially memorizing stuff and then doing it — and I had a really smart boy friend (thank God for Joe!), but it was meaningless. It was very frustrating.

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                  1. That it would be… as i feel, think, believe mathematics lies at the very heart of everything in the Universe. It is one of my keys to understanding – and i’m meaning very simple fundamental maths, although you could take it as far as maths will allow and find the same. 🙂

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                    1. I believe you. My very smart boyfriend got a Ph.D. in Physics in Berne, Switzerland (yeah, he had to learn the language, too) … then he decided to go back for ANOTHER Ph.D. in Jungian Psychology. Which he is still doing. But he sure did understand the numbers. They were his language. I always felt lost because I couldn’t speak the language.

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  4. Maybe they also can‘t read? Or, to make things easier, why not use grams, where the pound has 500 grams and Garry could have asked for 300 or 350 grams?! You are too hard on the young woman 😉
    Anyway, this would so NOT be a problem in any of the countries I have encountered similar questions: Italy, France, and Western Switzerland. In France, at my favourite butcher, I would ask for 2x a 120g steak (hamburgers, and they have a machine to cut up the beef and form the paddies, you choose either 120, 130 or 140g) and regularly I would end up with something like 270g…. Or you get something slapped in a paper or bag and the question ‚Et avec ceci‘ (and what else) and God forbid you aren‘t quick enough to reply…. 😉 In Italy you‘d never dare asking for ANYTHING at all less than un etto (100gr)…. you just can‘t!!! In England, when I was still very ‚new‘ on the How to ask/demand something front‘ I asked for a ‚couple of slices‘ of Italian salami at the Delicatessen and I nearly saw the opening of a trade war – because I meant ‚a few slices‘ to test their ware and quality but they understood ‚exactly two slices‘ of salami….. I didn‘t dare going back to that shop for at least two months, hoping they had forgotten who I was!

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    1. I frankly doubt she’d have understood it better in grams because our monetary system is effectively metric. 1 dollar = 100 pennies. Twenty nickels (5 penny pieces) and four quarters (each of which is 1/4 of 100 pennies, aka, 25 cents. PLUS the scale IS MARKED. What she couldn’t figure out was that the line between half a pound and ONE pound was 3/4 of a pound. She couldn’t divide. AND never learned fractions at all.

      Sometimes, it isn’t metric. It’s a fraction.

      This is a big failure in education. If instead of giving kids “random” numbers to work with, if they made it all about money, I bet everyone would figure it out quick enough.

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  5. My wife works with special needs kids. These kids often get jobs as sales clerks. When we hit upon one, she has a way of explaining it so they get it. As we leave she always says to me, “That was one of my kids.” Not literally, but she sees kids like these every day.

    As to the math problem, I’ve talked to people who teach it and they say they teach multiple ways, including the old way, which is the primary way. For most kids it increasing their understanding of how numbers work. For others, often they don’t get the old way but they do the “new” (I’ve been using the “new” way since the 70s if I’m adding multiple numbers -it’s a heck of lot easier! for me. I have a degree in Mathematics. OK, actually I do closer to 72 + 39 = 70 + 40 + (2-1=1) = 111, but my method has subtraction and addition, while that one is just addition). Teaching multiple methods increases the likelihood that they will get at least one method and teaches flexibility in thinking for those that do get the concept.

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    1. Owen is dyscalculic and when we finally put him in private school, it turned out he could not even add 1 + 1. We got him a tutor. That helped a little. But what REALLY helped was when he started doing tasks that required numbers. Measuring, cutting, figuring out how many boards he needed for that piece of flooring.

      I didn’t understand much of anything until I actually had to use it. Geometry meant nothing to me until I realized it was used by sailors to figure out the curve of the earth and how far they would travel — INCLUDING the curve of the earth. Suddenly, after reading “Horatio Hornblower” — which was my REAL math tutor — it began to make sense.

      Math has always been taught totally free of context. Many of us need that context. Calculating a number without any explanation of what the point is is a hole in reality. And THIS has been a problem — new or old or medium math. When the number MEANT something — weren’t random symbols and it came together.

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      1. I agree – math can be very concrete – real things added and subtracted and such – but we often make it so abstract. Kids need that concrete, real world application to “get it”.

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        1. I think that a lot of what is wrong with schooling is the lack of any meaningful context. But these days, the only thing they seem to teach is memorization. So you can pass the test. Without any understanding of what the test meant — if indeed it means anything,

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          1. Agreed. I think teaching to a standardized test is stupid. My Mom taught 4th grade and tried to come up with creative ways to get the kids to learn. For instance, she used Greek Myths for a lot of different things, to teach many concepts. She retired as the testing age came in and she was made to teach a very narrow curriculum.

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      2. my husband is a math person. He simply cannot understand why I cannot understand trig, or calculus, or algebra. It makes no sense to me, juggling letters to make numbers. a x c=ac. Yep. why not just USE the damn numbers? lol.

        When I was in college I had signed on to become a grade school teacher. Little kids. It was explained to us that before we graduated we would have to take–and pass–a ‘refresher’ course in Calculus. I somehow knew this was not going to happen… what on earth would a second grade teacher need Calculus for???

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  6. Here in Canada we use metric, and it isn’t a problem to ask for 2 or 4 slices of deli meat. But the change thing is the same issue here. none of the younger servers have any concept of you giving them nickel or quarter to get back a dollar.
    We have gotten rid of pennies, however!

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    1. We should get rid of pennies. We don’t need them and you can’t even put them in a toll machine. I don’t think metric or non-metric is the issue. It’s not being able to figure out how many dimes, quarter, pennies, nickels are in a dollar or a pound. It doesn’t matter which, really. It’s the same concept, whether you are working in 10s or not. Actually, our dollars ARE metric. 100 pennies = 1 dollar. 10 dimes equal one dollar, so twenty nickels (half a dime) is also a dollar. Four quarters (one quarter = 1/4 of a dollar) are … you got it … a DOLLAR. Now when you are talking distances, THAT isn’t metric at all, but I managed to conquer metric when I lived in a metric world. You figure one kilo = 2.2 pounds, so you multiply by two then add .2 times however many kilos there are, which isn’t really killer math. Eventually, you don’t need to think about it. It’s just the way it is.

      But I can think. I learned thinking from my parents and books and some smart teachers!

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    1. But presumably, your servers can count the slices or dope out what the amount comes to on a scale, right? Here, they have no idea that 3/4 and 75% are related. They literally don’t know anything and that’s the school system hard at work, making life worse for everyone.

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  7. It’s mind boggling and scary. My granddaughter was telling me about a 16 year old she worked with who literally stood at the empty stand of “plastic bags” and stared. Couldn’t even phrase a sentence to ask for help, say it was empty, or indeed search for more. There are many more incidents she explained about but it horrifies me to know they have and are learning nothing in school. The math you are describing showed up on S books for homework. She marched to the school and informed them he wasn’t learning that way, she’d teach him so he could actually do math! She was right to do so. As soon as we showed him how to do it, he got in within two minutes as opposed to struggling for hours over it.

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    1. Mostly, they are not learning to THINK. They are learning to solve problems by “asking” someone or something. Without some kind of external assistance, they are like baby ducks. Actually, not EVEN baby ducks. They can at least walk around looking for mom.

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  8. I think new math went out of fashion before I was even born, because my school days were in the 80’s and I was already hearing then about what a joke it was. Even in my crappy public education, we were taught the old fashioned way. I think a lot of the problem today is the fact that kids have a machine that does all the “thinking” for them, and they’re helpless without being able to use their phone to do math or Google things they don’t know or understand. Even the employment world is conceding defeat with the latest generation by dumbing down job requirements and no longer encouraging workers to solve problems on their own or act outside of their assigned tasks.

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    1. The phones have broader implications than merely failing to connect live to live people. They are mini electronic crutches. I suppose if you grow up requiring a crutch, you aren’t going to be able to walk normally. Ever. I suspect we are crippling our kids. I remember being forced (flash cards, grumpy parents) memorizing the “times tables.” EVERYONE had to know them. I can still do long division, though I don’t like it and I lost my way somewhere during geometry, but at least the basics of arithmetic stuck so I can figure out approximately how much I will owe at the cash register.

      AND … I can count backward to get the right amount of money. Be still my heart.

      Um, never mind. Pacemaker, keep going!

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  9. years ago I was in a craft show in Mass. with my neighbor, and we brought along her 15 year old son as a helper. Bright kid, straight B’s in school. At one point during the day I wanted to get up and walk around a bit.
    “Ross”, I said, “how would you like to watch my table for me, I won’t be long…”
    He got this ‘worried-dog-but but it’s raining out’ look, and I said, you can sell stuff if anyone asks. Worried dog. “er, Ross, you DO know how to make change?”
    “yeah….”
    “How many quarters in a dollar?” loooong pause.
    “three?”
    “I’ll stay here, YOU walk around..”

    And a woman in the postoffice. My age. That meant we had been taught by most of the same teachers. I wanted ten ten cent stamps. I had the dollar out, but had to wait while she wrote 10 10s in a column, carefully added them up, carry the one, checked it, and said, “a dollar.”

    So it isn’t just the new math (although I must admit it does throw a bit of a spanner in the machine), it’s been deteriorating for a hundred years, but it was so slow we never noticed.
    55 years ago: my highschool english teacher was fresh out of college, and her rule for essays was, ‘page and 1/2.’ no longer , no shorter. Got a lot to say, write small. got a little, write big. If it didn’t have modifiers for every freaking noun, you were downgraded. “puffy white fleecy clouds drifting gently across the rolling green hills…” was a winner, every time.

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    1. At least she knew what 1/2 a page meant and understood the concept of modifiers. You gotta admit, that’s something.

      But I went to school when you did and I’m not exactly a math genius, but I do know that four quarter is a dollar and the number of pennies in a dollar. I know 1/2 = 50%. And I can add and subtract in my head without a calculator. Actually, I’m more likely to make mistakes using a calculator. Oh, and I can “round up” or round down” numbers.

      This is basic arithmetic. Farmers in medieval Europe could handle this stuff. So should we.

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      1. The difference there, is, we were taught the times tables from the second grade on. By the fourth grade we had even the twelves down cold. We were taught fractions, both the math part and the language part, and it was stressed that if we knew fractions we could do almost anything, from baking a cake to building a house.

        When we were first married we had a truly limited amount of money, and I had the grocery prices down pat. As I shopped, I didn’t try to add it up, but rounded it up or down as needed. A lb of hamburg was 2.25, round that down. Bananas were 2.90 for two pounds, round that up. By the time I was done I was usually within five cents of the total. I have a friend who balances her checkbook the same way, and it drives her math-heavy husband nuts. She said she’s never out by more than two cents, while he will spend an hour tracing down the ‘mistake’ he made on his calculator.

        I’m amused at people who use calculators to add up 39 cents and 1.98. And check it.

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  10. I have encountered many at the cash register who can not make change. They totally rely on their computer cash register. Adding a penny to 99 cents is higher math and they were not taught to do it. Anyone who brags that their schools teaches the new math makes me cringe.
    If thinking is not taught, how will these people evaluate the orange menace in our country today. The millennials turnout at our last election was dismal.

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  11. Many of these kids probably have learning difficulties.
    I can do math, but every so often my brain freezes and refuses to do simple math correctly. Dyslexia (even minor) can affect us… And with strangers who are impatient or who are perceived as impatient are watching, it makes it that much harder.

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    1. I’m sure they do have learning difficulties and in all the years since they figured out that not all of us learn the same way, they have yet to come up with any way of teaching kids who have any kind of learning disability. I’m a little OCD and have hyperfocus, so it’s very hard to detach me from something I’m working on. It made me a TERRIFIC worker, so no one complained. It’s a little more of an issue socially.

      They have all these special classes for kids with learning problems and I have yet to see most of them mean anything. Part of that problem is that lack of special ed teachers who are properly trained and know what they are doing. And a lot of teachers just think anyone who can’t keep up with the class is stupid.

      But that brings me back to never teaching kids to work through a problem to find an answer that isn’t written in the book or coming from the mouth of a teacher or parent or the Internet. Learning is a LOT easier — for everyone — when you have a context for it. When it fits into a world you recognize.

      And they need to take away cell phones in school. Calculators? OK. Dyslexia and dyscalculia make keeping the number in order difficult (though personally, I get lost on the calculator too). But being able to actually look up every answer on the internet is turning kids into mental cripples.

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      1. Yes. We need more teachers to understand diff learning styles and abilities. The internet is an awesome tool. Parents and teachers need to put it in perspective, but you need to know how to use the internet these days in many/most jobs.

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  12. Okay, I’m coming to the defense of people who work at the cash register, because I’ve worked the till for many jobs. It’s not a fun job, and it’s brain deadening. After six hours (or more — I’ve stood at a till for up to eighteen hours working double shifts) of standing on my feet doing the same thing over and over again, the mind goes numb and sometimes simple math is nigh on impossible. Even if it is being oh-so patiently explained by the customer in front of me. The brain has simply had enough of this money-business and wants to be stimulated by something else. People can’t control what the brain does, if we could, everyone would all be brilliant all of the time.

    I’m not a stupid person, but I *am* math-dumb. I have Dyscaculia (as I’ve mentioned before) and sometimes making change *was* a challenge, and my mind blanked out. I know there are 100 pennies in a dollar but I would stupidly stare at the dollar wondering how many pennies to give for something that cost 97 cents. And yes, I was fully aware that the customer in front of me probably thought I couldn’t count to 20 without taking off my shoes, but that person didn’t know me apart from the single interaction we shared right there.

    So honestly, don’t judge the cashiers or the younger generation. Even if their cashiering (or math) skills aren’t fabulous, they probably excel in other areas. I can’t do math above a fifth grade level, and I will never be able to balance my checkbook, but I’m not stupid. And I do vote.

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          1. Yes, seriously! There are a number of questions the docs or assistants are expected by Medicare to ask you during your annual “wellness exam,” including the day and date, the name of the President, and to count backwards from 100 in 7’s! It’s not easy if your faculties are good, and it is tough otherwise. I have to stop and think about each one — but they seem to stop after two or three subtractions. Maybe just understanding the concept of the request is enough to prove you are ok!

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            1. Counting backwards by 7’s is part of a Medicare test to determine mental capacity — if you can’t do it, along with other tests, you have dementia and qualify for Medicare to pay for treatment. You found it easy — you passed the test, and don’t need the treatment — and I added the “yet” because one of my own fears as I age is that I will get dementia later on. Sorry for the half-stated thought!

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      1. Lol. That and spelling ‘world’ backwards. I practice. Just to be safe, I got my doctor to send me to a state examiner to be tested for possible beginning alzheimer’s. The test was fascinating, and fun…all except the numbers. I did fine, but when we got to “Im going to now give you 7 numbers, and I want you to recite them back to me–in reverse order…” I thought, be calm. don’t sob yet…got ’em all, but that was truly unsettling.

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    1. Is it making it better to not put numbers on the cash registers and just put pictures so they never need to learn anything at all? My son is dyscalculic too, but if you tell him he needs to build a floor for a round or curved room, he will work it out. It may take him more time to do it and he may not do it the way they tell you to do it in the books they get in school, but he WILL work it out. Does he blank out? Sure. But so do the rest of us. We all have things we can’t do.

      Garry can’t do any small work with his hands. He is incredibly awkward and a complete manual klutz. Moreover, he has a complete unwillingness to learn anything he doesn’t need to learn, so if I can do it, he won’t. Too many days with his father telling him he was stupid.

      We ALL have areas of low competence. Math for me, although I understand what it does and why you do it, I can’t actually perform most of the calculations which would get me the right answer. Basic arithmetic (although long-division is still difficult, even after all these years). Fortunately, I CAN do basic addition and subtraction and multiplication because I got flash-carded to death as a kid. Sometimes memorization really works.

      But the girl in the deli didn’t have to know any numbers — or any math. All she had to do was cut slices until the little weight widget lined up with the correct line on the scale. No numbers. Just knowing what the lines mean. That’s not math. That’s thinking. Garry wasn’t asking her for change or to subtract something from something else. Just meat slices piled on the scale until they lined up, more or less (we aren’t fussy) with the scale’s markings.

      I know a lot of people have learning disabilities, but does EVERYONE have them? Because there are two generations of young people who cannot add or subtract. It isn’t a blank out. They don’t know how. My granddaughter didn’t know how to read a non-digital clock because NO ONE TAUGHT HER HOW. I bought one of those wooden clocks with the hands you move around and she got it in less than 5 minutes. Much is not learned because much is NOT TAUGHT.

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      1. No, what I’m saying is even though I know how to do simple math, sometimes when working the counter, simple math was beyond me because it is a mind numbing job… I’ve seen posts like yours (and comments) that deride this entire generation because the person behind the counter “can’t do simple math” or because they did something stupid. And the only experience the poster has with the person behind the counter is that five minute exchange. That’s all they know of that person, and nothing else. What I’m defending is the person behind the counter, because I’ve been there, and I’ve done stupid things, and I know I’ve been judged as “that stupid person who can’t do simple math. Man, I hope she didn’t procreate — or vote.” I’m not a stupid person, but I have done stupid things.

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        1. Let me be clear: I was the world’s WORST cashier. I was AWFUL. I lasted ONE day and was afraid to even go back the next.

          But she wasn’t cashiering. She couldn’t figure out what the markings on the scale meant. That’s not even math. That’s just simply a lack of ability to figure out a simple solution to a very simple problem.

          And it isn’t the kids who are at fault. It’s their helicopter parents who babied them into their twenties and the schools which didn’t teach them the stuff they should know. With all the information that has been gathered about how some people learn better this way or the other way, they don’t actually implement this stuff, especially in towns like this that have small budgets, small schools, lower pay scales. Our kids turn out dumb because they don’t GET AN EDUCATION. Whenever our so-called government runs out of money to give to the already rich, they cut education, social security, and Medicare. Education is ALWAYS at the top of the list. And we are paying the price.

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  13. The Time Machine by Wells explores this prospect. The Tech and Technicians are all killed in a great war. The survivors don’t know how to fix the all the shit and revert back to a primitive state. The only people that DO have Tech live underground and are cannibals.. Wells possibly had a dim view of Tech and Intellect. LoL.
    Now … where did I put my Time Machine?

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    1. I don’t know about the cannibal part, but I think the technicians do live underground. If the electricity stopped, I’m sure we’d revert to living in caves in less than a generation. We know how to make things work, but we have no idea how they work or how to fix them. Me neither.

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      1. Hell I can’t even operate my TV half the time. I’ve got this thing with buttons all over it and I don’t what half of them do? I do know you shouldn’t just absentmindedly push them … or bad things can happen.

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  14. Sigh. Yeah, we are all so wonderful and enlightened and smarter than the young people. That’s how we spawned the current president and his (geriatric) followers. The other day, at the Potato Festival, I stood looking into an open trailer where there were hills of recycled plastic sand and fake greenery and plastic animals — wild and domestic. There was a water faucet at one end, a pump in the middle (underneath) and a drain at the other end. It was a river. There were more kids clustered around this trailer than any other thing at the festival. There was a young woman in her 20’s operating the trailer and explaining that it was “our river.”

    “That’s OUR river?” said a little girl her face painted and glittered
    “Yes, that’s our river,” said the young woman.
    “And those are the mountains, right?” asked a kid about 8.
    “Yep. We’ve set it up so it is Our River at low flow, like now.”
    “There’s not much water in our river now,” said another little boy.
    “No, we didn’t get much snow pack last winter.”

    I was moved to tears. First, it was “our” river. These kids were already taking a custodial role. Second, this young woman was smart, approachable, knowledgeable, friendly and enthusiastic — and a college student.

    I don’t know about the girl who served Garry turkey (maybe it was her first day? Maybe she didn’t know how to use the scale?) but IF she was a dim as is reported here, I think she’s an exception. Certainly to what I see on a daily basis.

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    1. It’s not stupid or smart. It’s the lack of ability to problem solve. The fault isn’t the generation. It’s the direct result of constant cutting down of the education budget. I’m amazed, given how terrible the curriculum is, that anyone manages to learn anything at all in public school. There’s nothing wrong with the kids, but there is a vast amount wrong with their education, parents, and people who are supposed to help them learn to be adults. Sure not every kid is like that, but an awful lot really are and they didn’t wind up that way without plenty of help from helicopter parents and slashed education budgets.

      Yes, it probably was her first day, but it was a simple scale, nothing complicated about it. Solving problems is what life is about.

      As for how smart we are? We were smart enough. Intelligence is not a generational thing. Everybody in our generation wasn’t smart. Plenty of them — look around and see them all wearing MAGA caps — were amazingly stupid. We just didn’t hang out with them. I didn’t really know any stupid people. I knew smart people because those were the people I met and enjoyed and we made friends. So to be fair, I was actually unaware how many dummies were lying in wait ready to ruin my declining years.

      I pushed my kid to learn to think. To build things. Create things. And he did. Even Kaity managed to learn some things that they managed to delete from school. Parents need to push kids to try new things and let them go at it without standing over them telling them exactly what to do next. You don’t build creative or problem-solving children when you never let them work things out on their own When all issues are solved by someone stepping in and fixing it, what do you expect?

      We are living in a world we (generationally, but thank you NOT personally) created and if we don’t like it, we know how it got that way. But on the other hand, there ARE a lot of dummies out there too. Not everyone. Maybe (hopefully!) not even most … but too many.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know. I taught for 38 years. I saw the changes coming into my classroom. Just reading your post made me think of my first day working at a Hallmark store in a mall. It was incredibly boring and nothing happened. I was supposed to walk around making sure there was no shop-lifting and helping anyone who asked. At 2 pm the boss said, “You can go.” I thought I’d been fired and I went to find another job. I did find one and it started the next day, so I went to work there. The guy from the Hallmark store called to find out why I hadn’t shown up for work. My mom had to tell him, “She said you fired her.” I’d already been in college 2 years…

        That’s why, I guess, when I look at a flumoxed kid at a job I just feel pity.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I didn’t even show UP for my second cashier day. Apparently, I can write a highly technical manual about software, but I can’t properly add change on an old-fashioned cash register. However, I can figure out what 3/4 of a pound is on a scale with lines.

          Like

  15. I may be off base here (often am, I’ve reached that over 55 mark, and all those 20 somethings KNOW anyone past 30 is ancient and without brain matter), but aren’t those same clueless (and apparently math skill challenged) ‘kids’ of 20 something in large part RESPONSIBLE for the wreck of the good ship U.S.A? I mean I know there’s a buncha farty old white men (sorry farty old white men, but you earned the profile. A large number of you qualify) running around with Make America Grrrr8 AGAIN! stenciled on their gimme caps, assault rifles, who are pretending to be ‘warriors’ of the coming apocalypse; who can take a share of the blame. I still suspect the 20 somethings, who are pretty rabid about politics (hey, they’re young and haven’t been sufficiently disillusioned yet IMHO) are at the heart of the orange menace. And I bet ya they had good intentions. And we all know where those lead…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was encouraged by how many youngsters are really trying to get into it and make a difference. They need to do that because whether we are smart or stupid or both, we are also old and we will not be here much longer. THEY have to take charge of their generation and do what they can to make things better. How you or I feel about it is neither here nor there. The world will roll along and we will be gone. Garry and I voted the youngest candidates we could find who weren’t Trumpophiles because we felt this place needs the kind of change only young people can bring, One of our people won, another lost … but we keep cheering for them. They are the hope of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I guess taking a hint from the latest thinking, “New Math” could be labeled as “Alternate Math” (ala “Facts” and “Alternate Facts”). Seems from your lead example 72 could just as easily be thought of as 39, or 111. Then again we could add all those numbers in the bottom row and get 536. Perspective seems to be the question here, depending on which method you prefer to calculate it.

    It’s like digital sound represented in “1s” and “0s”. The spaces in between the samples have meaning and value but are ignored during conversion from analog to digital. Then in order to make it sound like the original, we scramble to fill in those spaces to re-create the original sound, otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to hear it. This, in some ways, explains why many prefer the sound of analog recordings. To them, pure analog sounds somehow more complete thusly simple math is easily understood and applied…, mostly. I guess God had it all figured out from the get-go, but, NO, we have to go and add new meaning to what was simply correct from the beginning. So WTF are we doing?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. New math??? I’m a product of the UK school system in the 60’s and early 70’s i was taught the ‘old’ way, apparently, but i was unaware until now there was any alternative!

    So if i understand the new math graphic correctly – it is somehow ‘simpler/easier’ to figure out that 8 + 1 + 10 + 10 + 10 = 39 and then to add it all one by one to 72 than it is to add two 2 digit numbers together??? REALLY???

    If we blew any of the Education Budget on letting idiots insert that crap into hte system then no wonder DT is US President now.

    The Super-rich want us all as dumb as pigs#!t so we can’t figure out how to get their ‘legally’ gotten hypershare of the wealth of the world back off their sad little asses.

    They are doing such a good job and 95% of us have not yet figured this out so the gap between them and the 80% doing the actual work in the country continues to expand.

    end of rant.

    Liked by 1 person

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