Browsing slashdot, I just found a reference to this: When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids. It talks about an US school board member taking a maths test for pupils. He was not able to answer the 60 questions, but was able to guess 10 of them. That guy also claimed to be a successful member of society, which is likely true.
What is coming out of this, essentially: Maths is useless to be successful. So I wonder if this might explain some of the problems we are experiencing in the last couple of years. Could it be that politicians (taking on huge amounts of debt) and bankers (partly not understanding their own mathematical models of the financial world) and a lot of investors (believing this could go on essentially forever) simply are that bad at simple maths as well? And what would all of them think if scientists and engineers would also be as bad at it as themselves?
IMHO every discussion of this topic ultimatly ends at: Those tests are irrelevant for real life. So pupils think the same and they simply do not invest time in maths and science. Society then looses a lot of potential knowledge workers ultimatly lowering competitiveness wrt other countries. But they might become good bankers, managers and politicians.
This is so short-sighted. And it is not a US-only phenomenon.