Per USA Today, professor of mathematics Dennis DeTurck suggests that fractions should go the way of roman numerals:
"Fractions have had their day, being useful for by-hand calculation," DeTurck said as part of a 60-second lecture series. "But in this digital age, they're as obsolete as Roman numerals are."
This brought some understandable criticisms:
Questioning the wisdom of teaching fractions to young students doesn't compute with people such as George Andrews, a professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania State University and president-elect of the American Mathematical Society. "All of this is absurd," Andrews said. "No wonder mathematical achievements in the country are so abysmal.
"Arithmetic is the basic skill. If children do not know arithmetic, they can't go on to algebra, which leads to calculus. From there you go on to other things," Andrews said. "It's fine to talk about it, but this is not a good pedagogy."
I hesitate to challenge a mathematics professor on math, especially based on a second hand account of his position. However, I will say I find the idea of delaying learning about fractions until the student has learned calculus highly dubious, for most of the reasons Mark Chu-Carrol and Jason Rosenhouse list. I object per se to the idea that we should change the way we learn arithmetic based on existing technology. I don't care if we have machines that have the psychic ability to anticipate the problem we are going to ask and pop the answer in front of our faces before we ask. Everyone should be able to do basic arithmetic. Any adult who can't make change, or divide by ten, or understand that every portion of a total is going to be less than the total, ought to be embarrased. They are abdicating the responsibility of understanding the world to others, and opening themselves up to scams both large and small. How much better might our debt problem be if everyone understood basic math?
Fractions should be taught more, not less.