# HOW MUCH IS THREE-QUARTERS? – 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.

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?

Categories: Cooking, Food, mathematics

### 27 replies

1. I see what they did but how could they think this was easier than just adding up two numbers? Ridiculous.

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• I know. It’s a weird way to do any kind of arithmetic. It’s like doing it upside-down and backward.

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2. Do you understand the new math solution you depicted? I have no idea…

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3. In Canada we have both metre and the imperial system. The kids don’t know either one.
Leslie

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• Most kids learn when they have to pay bills. Real life teaches you a LOT.

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• Life is very exacting… it would be a good idea to be better prepared….

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4. Dang. And I thought I was math ‘challenged’. I do know what 3/4 of a pound is though. We really ARE wiser, aren’t we?

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• I suspect we worked it out ourselves when we got to the point of needing them. As most of them will figure it out … when they need the information.

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5. Some folks have disabilities that make them freeze in the moment. She was new. Maybe just a bit of coaching and she will get it.

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• And maybe they never bothered to teach fractions. I never learned fractions. They decided the year I was due to learn them that we didn’t need them. I eventually worked them out myself when I DID need them (like when I was trying to calculate how much material I needed for the tepee floor!) … but if they don’t teach them this basic stuff, what do they expect?

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6. I’m glad I’m old and won’t be around much longer to witness the stupid inherit the world.

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• I swear we are MAKING them stupid. Who designs curriculum for modern students? Does anyone care if any of the information is useful?

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• We teach them to pass standardized tests without teaching them how to think!

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• Standardized testing is destroying actual education. No one learns. They only learn how to pass tests.

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7. It is painful to watch a young person trying to work out change. The cash register tells them what to give you and that’s the only way they know.

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• And we wonder why they don’t “get” compound interest on credit cards!

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8. When the boys were at school, they got completely stuck with ‘new’ maths. So did I, trying to work out the new system to help them. I taught them the old way and had them memorise multiplication tables as I had learned. They got into trouble at school for doing it wrong, even though the answers were all suddenly right. But they have no problem with mental arithmetic as adults…

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• I never understood how they could take something as simple as addition and subtraction and make it THAT complicated. No wonder they don’t learn it! But it’s true. When they get into their OWN money, it becomes surprisingly clear.

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• I know… they lost me with how weird it all got…

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9. And if they can’t do math, who do you think they would vote for if they did! Obviously what the man on the street is telling them.

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• I keep wondering WHAT they are teaching in school. I gave my granddaughter a big globe for her birthday. It lights up and makes a pretty nightlight, too. I said “Now, when they talk about a place on the news, you can see where it is on the globe.”

“They didn’t teach geography,” she commented, fascinated by how you could turn it and what a pretty picture it made.

HOW can they not teach geography? How do you know anything about your world?

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• They think the people in America don’t need to know the rest of the world. Or the history either.

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• Sure they do. If they understood anything, they might be better people.

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• They are not bad people. Just supremely unaware. Both of their own country and the world.

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• Make no mistake: some of them ARE bad people. Most are probably deeply ignorant, but many are also deeply bigoted and full of hate. I often have trouble figuring out which is which.

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• You’re very right.

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• Shudda gone for bologna. They always have plenty of bologna.

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