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I agree very much, mostly. Just not in "reasonable to expect 85% of students to do so". World-best, really hard learning (and not just rote) S-Koreans make it to only 68% (were definitely taught) at 8th grade. USofA to 39%. Russia 18% (they have ONE curriculum, at least for 90% of kids). KSA&Iran: 3% (not taught, I`d guess, but no matter: some of my Saudi college students struggled with 7+5=? ).

At least, that is the TIMMS (2007) result for a super-basic Algebraic task. Appendix B-6. "Pen costs 1 zed more than a pencil. Joe bought 2 pens and 3 pencil for 17 zeds. How many zeds for 1 pen and for 1 pencil? - Show your work" (so not just "trying"). Not sure, what jobs it is needed for; not in mine. I could do it easily then, still do 40 years later. My kids can't. I shall disown them. ;)

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