I went to Food 4 Less tonight in a bit of a hurry. Ducky has been sick all weekend and we spent our Memorial Day at urgent care. Needless to say my usual errands didn’t get done until I desperately needed something for dinner. And wouldn’t you know the lines were horrendous — long enough that the mother and daughter in front of me had cracked me up three times. The daughter, who had just graduated was wearing her grad cap and had apparently been doing so since Friday night’s ceremony. She had told her mother it was a new fashion statement.
So after 15 minutes in line the pair in front of me finally got to check out. “$37.43,” said the clerk. The mother had EBT (California’s food stamp debit system). She swiped it and the clerk said, “You have $31.40 left on it.”
The mother stared at her blankly. Then turned back to her daughter, who shrugged. “So how much difference then?”
I was being nosy, I admit, but I really wanted to leave the store. “Six dollars and three cents.”
The mother gaped at me.
Her daughter said, “Oh.”
The clerk tapped a few keys on the register. “Guess she’s right, $6.03.” Confirming what her blank expression had already told me. She hadn’t done the math in her head either.
The mother proceeded to take things off the bill. Turns out, the difference was irrelevant — she had no extra money. So she started with Ramen Noodles. As you might imagine, progress was slow. They then tried one of those little Celeste Pizzas — you know, that run about a buck. I muttered something about the fancy drink bottles being the better choice and the lady behind me said, “Wow, you are really good at math.”
But the thing is, I’m not REALLY good at math. I’m really good at ELEMENTARY math which is what subtraction is. And then it struck me that as a recent graduate, the daughter in this duo would have to have taken the CAHSEE (CAlifornia High School Exit Exam), a test designed to make sure graduating seniors have basic skills. Obviously she passed.
Then there’s the clerk — presumably a high school graduate. In general I assume the mother and lady behind me all graduated as well, and if not they probably went at least as far as 8th grade in the public school system. And none of them could do simple subtraction. It wasn’t even a harder number set. Something with carrying involved. I think my three year old could have done it.
So if this is what public school has to offer, why do so many criticize my choice to homeschool? Why?