A survey of 2,000 adults has revealed that one in fourteen (roughly 7%) do not know that the answer to 32 divided by 8 is 4. That sounds bad enough on its own, but the question they were given was multiple-choice, and is one which would normally be given to an eight year old child.
The problem was particularly severe among the younger generation. While only 4% of those aged over fifty-five found the question to be beyond them, a staggering 12% of those in the eighteen to twenty-five age range couldn't answer it. That's 12% of people in that age group who are actually innumerate.
Why is this, I wonder? Perhaps the present generation is just stupider?
It wouldn't surprise me, but for now I'm going to go with the quality of teaching that children are receiving in our schools as being responsible for the fall in standards. In the past, the basics of literacy and numeracy were rigorously inculcated in the minds of schoolchildren. Whereas now, we live in an age of "progressive teaching methods" and "child-centred learning", which simply do not work. The problem isn't just in mathematics: a great many people under the age of thirty or so have no real understanding of spelling, punctuation, or grammar either, while many young people lack a basic knowledge of British history.
What our schools are busily doing, is turning out a generation of children who are, in essence, ignorant sheep. Who are incapable of writing a letter, or of performing any meaningful mental arithmetic. Yet who are fully paid-up members of the Church of Liberalism, having been indoctrinated by their teachers into all of its central tenets (white guilt, gay rights, the benefits of multiculturalism, the evil demon global warming, and so on) since the age of five. They may not know their five times table, but they certainly do know that the BNP is evil! Perhaps liberals like that. They probably believe that they are creating a wonderful, tolerant new society, where we will all join hands and sing Kumbaya. Whereas, in point of fact, they're just creating a nation of philistines.