I teach the upper grades in my school, yet I continue to see kids who do not even have basic algebra skills in place. As a parent, I'm very aware of what my own children are learning in school. For the most part, I've been happy with their progress, but as they rise in grade level, I'm starting to see more emphasis on a loose understanding of the concepts and less emphasis on skills__particularly skills with arithmetic of fractions. The main problem with what I see with my students and my own children is that kids are taught "concepts" and are not taught skills__unless they're lucky enough to have a teacher who knows better. Most particularly, children are not taught mastery of arithmetic with fractions. Unfortunately, virtually all of their future math education depends on being able to do fractional arithmetic.
Now that we know the benefits of mathematics what is needed to conquer this hard to tackle and arduous subject. Answer is quite simple actually, practice, a lot of practice from early childhood. But in order to perform any task or practice any task, one requires resources. Obtaining a resource is not difficult in today's modern world but affordable resource is definitely a rare commodity. Today education is a sector which gets very little funding from the federal government.