Re: Steve Davies 3
"I blame the schools...we used to do mental arithmetic every day."
As they do now Steve. And I know plenty of people educated in the 60s who wouldn't be able to answer that question. Many people from that era can't read or write either - my wife volunteers at the local school in the evenings teaching adults basic reading, writing and arithmetic and they are NEVER short of students in their 50s and 60s. The "Education Today" thing is just a myth put about by a lazy media.
A decent proportion of today's GCSE maths is done as a series of mental arithmetic questions. The students have a pen and an answer sheet. Nothing else. The teacher stands at the front and reads out a series of questions. You have X seconds to write down the answer (and only the answer - if you scribble notes or workings out you lose marks) before the teacher reads the next question.
But it is far easier for the media to make out that kids aren't taught certain skills or are lazy than to find out the truth.