What does Belgium have that the United States does not?

It has 16th place in a list of best-educated countries. The United States is in 17th place. Here is the list starting with Finland, the best-educated country in the world:

Finland
South Korea
Hong Kong
Japan
Singapore
UK
Netherlands
New Zealand
Switzerland
Canada
Ireland
Denmark
Australia
Poland
Germany
Belgium
USA
Hungary
Slovakia
Russia

So, my question for you is why can't the richest country in the world come in ahead of Belgium, Poland, and Canada?

One man thinks he knows...

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant suggested on Tuesday that a decline in American education was precipitated by the mass entry of mothers into the work place.

Bryant's remarks, which came during a Washington Post event, immediately stirred controversy amid a recent broad discussion over women's roles as family "breadwinners."

At the Washington Post event, Bryant was asked why he thought the country's educational state had gotten "so mediocre."

"I'm going to get in trouble. You want me to tell the truth? You know, I think both parents started working," Bryant said. "The mom is in the work place."

According to the Post, Bryant immediately tried to clarify his remarks, saying that "both parents are so pressured" in modern family situations. (source)

Now, it's hard to talk about this subject without women getting their backs up because they know that a lot of people are happy to blame one more bad thing on the improvement of the lot of women over recent decades. I heard one female commentator say that Finland has an even higher proportion of families with two employed parents and yet they have a better educated populace than the United States. I wonder, however, how many Finlandish families have latchkey children? Perhaps Finnish children do not leave school for an empty home but instead have some sort of free childcare for the younger children and perhaps activities for the older children.

Anyway, on what do YOU blame the poor performance of American schools.

Tags: education

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Sure. click here.

@Reg;

I read both your source and Unseen's source, it showed how biased sources can be about the same report.

Population of Belgium - 11.02 million

Population of USA - 313.9 million

That's the difference. Not a fair comparison at all. Not one of those countries are even close to 100million or more population. Closest is UK and Germany at around 67 million. I want to see if those countries are still at the stop when their population is 4-5x than their current one. 

Not underlying the fact our education system needs a major overhaul because it has become mediocre but statistically numbers are not going to be in favor of USA against countries with 1/4th of the population of US

If a country has installed an effective quality learning environment for it's children why would an increase in the student body, or population in general, result in a diminished quality of education? A system of learning that generates results should not necessarily be impacted by a larger number of students. American society and our school system in particular has many pitfalls that other countries don't seem obligated to confront. Rampant gang violence, drug use, disinterested parents to name a few.

One of the points the Governor of Mississippi was making was that absentee parents are a factor worth looking at. If two parents are holding down full time jobs, they simply have less time and energy to commit to helping their children learn. Of course, many are interpreting his remarks in a sexist way, and maybe he's a sexist, but there is a way of looking at what he said without blaming one sex or the other, and that idea should be given a fair hearing.

Another problem now is that this isn't the first generation failed by the American educational system, so many parents who were promoted despite their incompetence are ill-equipped to help their children, as are many of the kids' teachers!

Then we have a culture more oriented toward fun than intellectual accomplishment. Expectations are low. In Asian cultures, by contrast, children are under a lot of pressure to be successful in intellectual or technical fields. No basket weaving courses there. Even in India, whose average is dragged down by a huge impoverished and undereducated majority, if you are a student in the growing middle class there, you're expected to become a doctor, scientist, or engineer. Expectations like that are either absent, less intense, or occur less frequently in the U.S.

Then we have a culture more oriented toward fun than intellectual accomplishment. Expectations are low. In Asian cultures, by contrast, children are under a lot of pressure to be successful in intellectual or technical fields.

On the other hand, there's something to the argument that freedom and flexibility drive innovation. The US economy is driven by innovation, not efficiency. We have a unique culture that encourages people to come up with ideas and start businesses. While Japan, for example, is great at building gadgets, they have not created a Google or a Facebook. Perhaps you need some basket weaving to keep people from becoming academic drones.

The United States is probably unique when it comes to a culture of creativity, but I think that's due to our general culture, not due to a lax educational system. Personally, I'd give up Google or Facebook if it the same energy could be applied to a cure for cancer rather than new ways to waste our time. Hell, I'd even give up TA. (Let's see if archaeopteryx can resist commenting on that last sentence.)

I agree with you, it's about time we made some real dang progress on serious diseases.

But the idea, as you know, is that even if we only invent time-wasters, they collectively raise trillions of dollars that keep our economy humming and raise everyone's standard of living. Imperfectly and often unfairly, of course, but it does work in aggregate.

I'm interested as to why you feel the USA is unique in its culture as referring to this topic.

You replied to Stutz, but my answer would be to look at where most the technological innovations have been coming from since WWII as the evidence. As to why, either there's something in the U.S. culture of personal freedom or it's something in the water.

I'm not saying there aren't innovators in the UK or elsewhere, and certainly the vast difference in population between the U.S. and other countries plays a role. 

Certainly a lot of our innovation goes toward fluff and time wasters like Google, Facebook, music, porn, Hollywood movies, and ThinkAtheist, but the U.S. is responsible for more than its share of scientific and technological developments as well.

ltmight not have the best general  education but it does have a number of first grade universities that people  attend from all over the world. I would actually be interested in finding out how many uni students are homegrown vs foreign.

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