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:

South Korea
Hong Kong
New Zealand

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.

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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.

For improvement in the way we teach two words:

Kahn Academy

This only one of many new ways of looking at teaching.

That channel is great on youtube... definitely recommended.

We don't have a curriculum that actually encourages learning once kids are out of elementary school. Went from a progressive education to making it easier for kids to graduate without learning anything of real value beside how to regurgitate facts for tests. Parent are often too busy to slow down and take notice of what is going on in their kids schools. Parents need to be more involved including when summer break is in session continuing what kid learned and giving opportunity to expand what the kid might be interested in. School need better pay and benefits for teachers. School need tech that encourages learning. we need to do year long school and just break up vacation throughout year. this way better chance of retaining what is taught.

I think we can add that over the last few decades we've weakened in loco parentis and foisted on schools the responsibility for taking care of all the kids' supposedly fragile little psyches, one manifestation of which has been that of promoting kids to the next grade whether they deserve to be promoted or not, for fear of making them feel bad for failing.

very true

Well said. In math and science, we are never taught the theories behind what we learned or how it applies to the world and the universe. Only just how to plug and chug equations and get the answers. This is why many American students cannot do basic math or science. Schools also never take the time to teach actual things. It's always race to the end to get the curriculum taught for the sake of teaching. 

For example most people couldn't even get the answer right to a problem like this:


That's just a shame. The answer is 14. People do not even remember order of operations. 


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