Saw this mentioned on Slashdot, and there's a post & discussion at TSM: a Florida school-board member, holder of two masters degrees, took a standardized math test for 10th graders, knew zero out of 60 answers, but guessed 10 correctly.
Now, if the test was in the same form as the sample questions provided by WaPo, being four-option multiple-choice, the average turnip ought to have gotten 15 out of 60 right. I don't see how anyone with a halfway-functioning brain and the slightest knowledge of arithmetic and geometry could score less than 90% on such a test.
OK, so maybe it wasn't that test, but the dreaded FCAT (sample material is helpfully linked by a guest commenter at TSM). Looking through that big PDF, flipping pages at random, I find a mixture of questions, not all straight multiple-choice, some of which are no-brainers, some I'd want a pencil for, and the occasional one that actually calls for a calculator, or at least a slide rule (such as the ones that involve taking square roots and actually filling in a number rather than picking one of four very different answers). Still: basic arithmetic, geometry, and logic will get you through most of 'em.
Yeah, yeah: I'm just a (a) iggnerant wingnut with only a BA degree from a stupid state university, or (b) sooper-jenius egghead with no grasp of the real world; pick one. Thing is, basic arithmetic and geometry are routinely useful in the real world, and I've even been known to use trigonometry from time to time (typically in sewing projects).
And it's truly frightening to contemplate the existence of a highly-credentialed ruling class, making decisions about, e.g., economics (simple principles*; big, complicated math!) while being entirely innumerate.
* I don't trust the ruling class to have any grasp of the simple principles, either. Look how the Parable of the Broken Window translates into policy proposals.