Actually, as a middle school teacher in Texas, I see the problem as the opposite. So much time is spent on extremely difficult concepts and things kids will NEVER use that real-life situations are not taught. I'm not surprised that kids don't know what to do in simple situations. They are too busy trying to remember the formula for slope or when to apply the Pythagorean Theorem that they can't do the obvious things. The state keeps making the tests more and more difficult, teachers have no choice but to teach to the test so we can meet state expectations and not lose school funding, and we are leaving the kids in the dust. Here is a sample of a 7th grade problem. It's off the TEA website, not an actual test, but I will tell you this is a pretty simple one.

Travis drew a triangle that had a right angle. He also drew a rectangle.

The triangle has a height of 4 cm and a base of 8 cm.

The rectangle has a perimeter of 24 cm and a length of 8 cm. Based on this information, which of the following statements is true?

A The area of the triangle is equivalent to the area of the rectangle because 8 x 4 = 24 + 8.

B The width of the rectangle is equivalent to the height of the triangle because (24 – 8 x 2) ÷ 2 = 4.

C The area of the rectangle is 64 square centimeters because (24 – 2 x

x 8 = 64.

D The area of the triangle is 6 square centimeters because (4 +

÷ 2 = 6.

By the way, the answer is B.