I talked with my (ex) daughter in law, who mentioned that Granddaughter, Arielle, failed Algebra and is now failing it in summer school. I thought it strange that my very carefully brought up grandchild should be having problems (I remember her liking math a few years ago), and offered to tutor her.
She told me that back in 4th grade, they covered division when she missed a lot of school, and they never bothered to show it to her. She's been unable to keep up with it since.
I had brought over a worksheet from math.com, and started with a simple equation - x/2 = 4. She had no clue what that represented. I showed her that it meant x divided by 2, and that if we multiplied both sides of the equation by 2, we would have the answer. She had no idea what that meant.
When it came right down to it, I discovered that she didn't understand that any number divided by itself = 1!!!!!!!!
How can they keep passing a kid on to higher and higher grades when they haven't taught them the most basic of basics???