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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But Father Knows Best didn't have to raise chickens to maintain a modern lifestyle with the same amenities all his neighbors enjoyed. I don't think it's a moral failing of ours to aspire to a modestly higher standard of living. Rather, it's a tragedy that a single income would require all those cutbacks you mention—basically becoming an urban farmer with limited communication with the wider community. I'd hardly call TV and internet access "affluence".

What will be those future jobs that aren't already performed by robots?

Engineering, science, innovation.... basically all the smart jobs that robots aren't smart enough to handle.

I'd hardly call TV and internet access "affluence"

Internet I agree, but cable/satellite TV? Maybe it's different in the US but here in Australia it is about $80 a month and you still have to pay extra for decent access to movies and extras channels. If that's not affluence, I don't know what is.

It might be affluence compared to much of the world, but it's nothing like a new car or SUV payment. It's not "bling". It's far cheaper than my monthly bill for two smartphones. It's many low-income families' only form of regular entertainment. It might be financially smarter to forego cable, but I don't know too many who would argue that it's an extravagant expense.

Who in the U.S. could call themselves affluent if they couldn't afford TV and Internet?

Anyway, the point (which you missed apparently) is that one could live much less expensively by giving up a lot of the conveniences most of us have grown used to.

Come on, I didn't miss your point. I'm questioning it's relevance. Why would most people choose that kind of a lifestyle just so they could get by on one income? That's not returning to an idyllic Father Knows Best past, it's going back to the 19th century. It just seems like the opposite of progress.

TV/Internet are necessary but not sufficient for affluence.

Most mothers joined the workforce starting back in the 60s, my mother joined because she couldn't feed 4 kids on what my father made (and yes, before that we frequently went to bed hungry).  As for gardening, get real.

As for, "As for gardening, get real" - hey, I grow the best tomatoes in the county!

Send me a dozen...the ones they grow around here are crap. :(

Ya gotta grow 'em with love, and a lot of fertilizer, of which, I've been told, I am full.

As for gardening, get real.

It doesn't get more real. It's more real than buying a 4-pack of tomatoes at Trader Joes. 

If you go out into the boonies you'll find a lot of people who have maximized their self-sufficiency in order to be able to live on a low (or no) regular income.

Mothers often do not HAVE to join the work force but WANT to join the workforce. It was WWII that brought many women into the workforce showing the women could do many a "man's job." After the war, the lesson stuck and so it became more acceptable for women to do work away from home. Today, we see it as a right.

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