An experience had this past week in a local store had me frustrated, but even moreso, saddened. The cashier, a young man probably college age or a little younger, told me my total. I handed him cash, the amount of which he then punched into his computerized cash register. A mistake in the numbers he punched in left him like a deer in the headlights when it came to determining what my change should be. He had to call for assistance from a young woman on the next register (approximately the same age group). This cashier, also not quite sure how to determine that I needed 28 cents back from my $33, proceeded to pull her Iphone out of her pocket and punch in numbers.
Really, what skills are we teaching our children when they cannot count back simple change? The fact that it took two young people and an Iphone to count back change from a purchase costing 32.72 is ridiculous.
We begin reliance on automatic procedures when using calculators in kindergarten (yes, they really do!) and it only gets worse from there. Now add in the idiotic Core Curriculum way to teach math and we are totally off base.
I must admit I have paid more attention to this Core thing in the recent past than before and I just don't get it. What is wrong with the way math has been taught? What is wrong with teaching math without the use of electronic gadgets?
We are doing our children no favors by not providing common sense, practical. knowledge when it comes to something as simple as being able to count back change from a cash transaction. We don't teach them things like how to balance a checkbook or even how to write in cursive anymore because there is a computer to do that for them!
Having heard in passing the phrase "dumbing down of America," I had not really focused on it and given it much thought until now. It seems that is exactly what we are doing in many ways. What a shame and a detriment to our children. What a frustration to those of us in the "older" crowd who cannot believe the looks we get when we simply expect young people to do a simple chore without a technological gadget in their hands. As individual parents, leaders and educators in our community, we need to step up and say enough is enough and return to some type of common sense education where we provide our children with useful guidance!