OK here. I just became a 7th Grade Math teacher this fall
. I heard other teachers say that for a few years up until last year they were not allowed to make the kids memorize the times tables, because it was "rote learning" which was banned.
I have students who can't multiply. Unless I give those kids a times table fact sheet or a calculator, they will be left hopelessly behind this year. But so far my general policy is "no calculators except on designated days to be announced." They will be allowed calculators on the state test, so the new state standard says we have to spend at least a bit of time teaching how to use a basic calculator (4 functions plus square root and percent keys, no more).
Oh, and some of them can't handle cursive writing, either. They learn their letters on the keyboard and they print.