I recently purchased an item to do a small repair job in my house. The price, including sales taxes, [money the government badly needs in order to help finance the educational system], came to $9.05.  So, I handed the cashier a $10.00 bill…yes…paper currency still exists and I occasionally use it.

The cashier, a young gentleman of college age, stood there with the $10.00 bill in hand…brain freeze!

I thought that he was waiting for me to produce the $0.05. After an awkward moment, I said, “Oh.  Okay.  Let me check my change to see if I have that.”

I reached into my pocket and pulled out a handful of change among which was, indeed, a $0.05.  With a somewhat enthusiastic gesture, and broad smile of satisfaction on my face, I handed the cashier the $0.05 just as the cash drawer happened to pop open.

Then, I watched as the young gentleman stared at the cash draw while holding the $10 bill in one hand and the $0.05 in the other. He occasionally glanced up at the digital display of the cash register. It was as if I was watching a robot needing a reboot.

I finally asked, “Is there a problem that I can help you with?”

He turned with an embarrassed expression on his face revealing that his brain was in a vegetative state of suspended animation due to the extreme complexity of this financial transaction.

I gladly explained to him: “The cost came to $9.05. Think of it this way. I gave you the $0.05. So you subtract that from the $9.05 and that leaves just $9.00. But you now have a $10.00 bill in your other hand. You subtract the $9 from the $10 and that gives you $1.00. So, you make change by handing me $1.00”.

His face lit up and a smile broke through as he thanked me.

Common core, and lowering classroom standards, (to avoid hurting feelings of those who need extra help from parents or educational resources outside of the classroom),  is working, folks. Many of our young, upcoming citizens are unable to do simple arithmetic.

Congratulations!