The recent Mallard Fillmore “making change” cartoons were hilarious, but they highlight what, sadly, is no laughing matter.
Several years ago, I pulled up to a Triangle fast-food drive-through window to pay my bill of $3.78. To avoid getting coins, I gave the clerk a $5 bill and 28 cents. For more than a minute, nothing happened. It dawned on me that the male high schooler manning the cash register was stumped; he didn’t know how to do the math without a calculator.
Finally, I said, “You are confused, aren’t you?” He acknowledged that he was “not very good in math.” After explaining what to do, I urged him to pay more attention in math class.
I fear the young will grow up not knowing how to make change in their heads unless the schools somehow force them to learn basic math sans a machine.