I had to self-teach myself math and find private (affordable) math tutors. When I was a kid (years ago), the NYS public school teachers didn't teach normal multiplication either, they taught how to multiply using these advanced BOXES/diagonal lines (which took a lot of time and was messy if you're not careful) and that's basic math. But if you went to a good high school, the math is fine. Standardized exams help prevent biased teachers purposely lowering/raising students' grades based on opinion, since the grades are based on how much the kid's studied. They make sure the teachers aren't slacking. However, there are many factors involved too; such as whether the kids themselves are willing to learn.