The more I think about it, the more I think that our education system has things backwards. It seems to me that learning to count in decimal is fine, but why not introduce the concept of powers earlier? Or rather, when powers are introduced, why isn't it applied to our base ten counting system. This would give kids an extraordinarily powerful understanding of how number systems are formed. I can't remember it being explicit in our learning material; maybe it was.
That said things may have changed a lot in 20 years..
By the by, I feel the same way about radians and degrees. I don't think they're harder. In fact I think that both of these concepts *could* help some kids conceptualise numbers and mathematical problems far better if they didn't have to see it from the point of view of their educator. Ask yourself how big a degree is.. then ask why. Apart from it having many possible factors it seems almost arbitrary.
Whereas radians have an iron clad concept.
Rant over. Off to my exam.