@ moshe: I hear you with respect to your workplace experience and can well understand and agree with your disillusionment and disgust. This is the exact opposite of what affirmative action was supposed to achieve. People were to be judged, not by the color of their skin but the content of their character—or level of skills in your example. What happened on your job demonstrates the truth that ignorance and injustice know no skin color.
With respect to calculators in the classroom, I did not allow their use unless and until my students demonstrated competency in basic arithmetic. I enforced the ban this way. If a student simply put down the answer to a math problem on a test or homework assignment without writing out all the steps needed to derive it, I marked it wrong and they got no credit. My students quickly saw I meant business when I demanded they prove they had learned the principle and not that they could simply manipulate a calculator.
@ mrsjones5: I am very happy to read about your children doing so well. You and your husband must be very proud of them. Their experience in Indiana was a real godsend for them when your family returned to California because a strong foundation had been laid which benefited them in all kinds of ways. And it certainly helped that you and your husband encouraged them to learn every step of the way.
@ botchtowersociety: Fortunately, there are many resources available that will enable you and your wife to continue your son’s math education at home. It can be a real challenge to involve advanced and/or gifted students in a math classroom. I still remember one boy I met as a substitute teacher who already had a grasp on number theory and he was only in sixth grade. Then there was the young freshman at another school who asked me to explain the workings of the binomial theorem. Both of these students had teachers who simply refused to take the time to answer their questions. I suspect that was because they didn’t know those answers themselves. Meeting the needs and satisfying the curiosity and drive of students like them is a challenge for a teacher, but one that benefits everyone involved.
Your father’s experience reminded me of a young woman in my honors class who was from Mongolia and had lived in America for only two years. She was one of the very best students in my class and a real joy to teach. Her dedication and energy were admirable and it was clear that she loved mathematics. But what I especially appreciated was how her presence in my class influenced the other students. They saw that if she could overcome language and cultural differences to excel, there was no reason they could not do well in the course also.