I have worked in and around public education for over twenty years. Over the past seven years, I have attended numerous meetings, panel discussions, and conferences that include participants from outside the public schools. Few of these meetings go by without someone coming up to tell me about a disappointing encounter with a public school graduate. Remarkably, these people have all taken part in a common interaction-dealing with someone who could not give them the proper change in a retail establishment.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Is it possible that the inability to calculate correct change has reached epidemic proportions? Since most of the people from my meetings are Ohioans, maybe we have a rogue serial improper-change-giver on our hands. Given that fact that retail businesses often struggle with high employee turnover, perhaps all of my meeting comrades have had the misfortune to come across the one public school graduate in the region that cannot make correct change. In the future, I'm going to ask them to describe the offender.
In all honesty, I cannot recall a single incident where the person at a store, restaurant, car wash, or toll booth has failed to give me correct change. In the same way that aliens always seem only to abduct crazy people, maybe those with a poor opinion of public schools are destined to always be in the checkout line of the cashier with the least skill at dispensing change.