A cousin of mine (age ~~55) has worked for several years to transition from engineering to being a school teacher. He likes working with kids, sports, baseball coaching, that whole thing, and God bless him. This past year was his first as a math teacher, a goal he has worked very hard and very diligently to achieve. And he’s freaked out, because he’s stuck failing 45/70 = 64% of his students and scared to death he’ll be fired. The stories he tells me about how poorly these kids perform on any sort of math test are just appalling, unbelievable. Algebra is the main mountain he works to get them over.
I asked him “Don’t they freaking know that a quarter equals 5 nickels??”
He answers, “Not that many of them do...but funny you should mention it....that was one of the problems on the last test...”
Your cousin is a saint. I worked, and still do work as a tutor. I see all kinds of horror stories, but I work one on one with them, so I can actually devote the time necessary to get the kiddo over the hump.
Don’t get me started on ‘reading’!