Four years of high school spent with calculators in their hands, four years of letting a machine do work their brains should have been doing has left kids unprepared for college. Four years where the only thing that mattered to administrators was getting an A on a progress report did nothing for education.
The math teachers at Packemin have been pushed to use graphing calculators with all our students, particularly the lowest level ones. Teachers have been told, over and over, to teach the kids how to solve equations using the calculator. They have been threatened with "U" ratings for not using this device. An ISS teacher told me that her former school forbid her from teaching simultaneous equations without a calculator. Kids have gotten so calculator dependent that even simple operations like 12/1 are not being done by hand anymore. A really sad part of all of this is that the calculators are not easy to use. The time spent learning to do certain operations on the Casio or TI 84 could be better spent learning to do the work by hand.
I am not anti-calculator by a long shot, but when I see bright kids fall apart because they forgot basic arithmetic, I want to cry. We've thrown away a generation. How many more can we afford to lose?