If I were in charge of the math world, I would have classrooms full of calculators, check books, receipts, and bank statements. It seems pretty clear that most "math energy" in our world is spent balancing our assets against our material wishes. It is also clear that many students graduate from high school without these basic skills.

I also think that textbook publishers have a pretty warped view of what real world math is all about. If Bobby, Suzy and Sam have to share any more pizzas, I think that I may become ill (it sounds real world, but it really isn't), ditto for 2n X 48z cubed = the square root of pi.

Having said this, I do deeply value building a deep understanding of basic number sense and mental math abilities. If this ability is developed early, higher math certainly becomes more manageable, and more mundane daily math tasks become less of a mystery.

What do you think?