Sounds like one of your trick questions At1
You guys know more than me, this is my Son in Laws answer by email to me.
You don’t have to work it out from left to right, and it is dependent to what rules you are willing to accept and what the context is in math(algebra, arithmetic, etc.). If you accept left to right after the work in parenthesis, then he is correct, if you don’t then my answer is. We do not teach what was stated by your opponent, we say “multiplication or division, left to right”, there are other properties that are taught that conflict with his premise, he must know these or has an awareness of them. What is associated with the parenthesis is usually worked on next, rather than going from left to right.
Theres no correct determination in this exercise given multiple competing understandings, as its sole purpose is bait –for him to get attention and hold you and others hostage to changing and conflicting contexts.
I don’t have a masters in math, I have one in educational management, and a course shy of a second one in political science/public administration. My bachelor of science degree is in criminology. I have enough math courses for a minor in math and to qualify for a teaching credential in math(which is enough units to qualify in most schools for a major in math).
We have done this same problem, as a problem of the week in 6-8th math for the past 16 years, and before I became a teacher as well. It’s a classic, but has more than one interpretation.