MS Gov. Phil Bryant Blames America’s Educational Troubles on Moms Working Outside Home

The Republican attack on women as breadwinners continues with Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) saying that America’s educational troubles started when women began working outside the home in large numbers, the Washington Post reports.

Gov. Bryant, responded to a question about how America became ‘so mediocre’ in regard to educational outcomes, saying, “I think both parents started working. The mom got in the work place.”

“Bryant immediately recognized how controversial his remark would be and said he knew  he would start to get e-mails. He then expanded on his answer, saying that “both parents are so pressured” in families today. He also noted that America seemed to be losing ground internationally in regards to educational outcomes because other nations began to invest more in their own school systems and make progress.”

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

Author: JANET SHAN

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127 Comments

  1. Just that if they don’t do what you did, they will flounder, they will not be able to get adequate time, that your decision is the only way that doesn’t hurt kids. Sure.

  2. When I made thise statements about “outsourcing parentin, it was in reference to what some of the feminist policies encourage, not the choices that parents are forced to make. i tend to think that most parents don’t want to put their kids in full time daycare.

  3. Well, twisting words is neat too, apparently.

  4. And overlooking that policies can have downsides as well as upsides, and people should vote according to what they believe will maximize upside and minimize the down.

  5. Sure, I just don’t see why you’d use that vote for blocking the abilities of others to make the best choices for them. In the same way we can support the needs of, say, black communities, even though we’re not black, we can support those whose circumstances are different. Empathy is neat.

    False analogy. I don’t have any experience as a black person. To whatever degree that I’ve had experience in black communities, I bring that to the forefront in considering whether or not I support a particular policy involving black communities. I actually do have some experience, but it’s more limited than my experience as a parent and interacting with tons of parents of all different socioeconomic conditions and family conditions. My experience doesn’t give way to blind empathy because I see how policy might playnout more clearly in the situation that I’ve had more contact with.

  6. What did I twist, CStanley?

    Interesting backtrack on “outsourcing parenting”. So when feminists advocate for the availability of high quality affordable healthcare, for those who need it, that’s “outsourcing parenting”, but not when families send their kids to said daycare. That’s a logic pretzel I can’t really wrap my head around. Do you or do you not think that high quality affordable daycare is needed? Or should we imagine that being unsupportive of policies that encourage its availability will magically make it exist and/or make it not needed?

  7. ^hopefully it’s obvious I meant “daycare” above, not “healthcare”.

  8. Twists: there were several, but the worst was the one I already pointed out (and it’s hard to cut/paste from a previous comment page).

    I said:

    Well, my experience while now havong been a parent for over 19 years is that I see a lot of kids floundering when the parents are overtaxed. .that obviously doesn’t mean that all kids with stay at home parents do well and all kids with working parents do poorly- it’s a generality, but. a strong one

    And you restated it as:

    So, again, in your opinion, which you will back up with your vote, is that the only way for a woman to be an adequate parent is to stay home from work

    1. I said nothing gender specific at all, so men can fulfill the primary parenting role. Or, two parents tag teaming it by each working shorter hours.
    2.i made the point of saying that of course some kids do fine with two working parents, and vice versa (some kids with a full time parent don’t do well.)

    I don’t see what is denigrating to working parents in my version but the meaning was altogether different when you got done with it.
    Maybe I could word things more delicately but I’m being pretty blunt about the need to consider what is best for kids even if that doesn’t fully expand choices for parents.

  9. The magical thinking, IMO, is that we could provide high quality childcare for everyone who needs it, if more parents don’t stay home with their kids.

  10. Too late to edit my comment above but I wanted to add:

    Can you explain what you mean by “policies that encourage it’s availability”WRT high quality childcare?

  11. .So when feminists advocate for the availability of high quality affordable healthcare, for those who need it, that’s “outsourcing parenting”, but not when families send their kids to said daycare

    The difference is the assumption that this is the best we can do for families. Is “daycare affordability” really the first choice for most, or would the preference be for one parent to be able to be home most of the time, either by having one parent forego paid work for a while or for both to be able to adjust their hours?

  12. This may be the longest debate in TMV history. Have been trying to follow it, but got lost when arguments changed emphasis like horses in midstream, several times I think.
    Well You are both presenting excellent cases. :)

  13. I remember 157 post marathons with way-out posters, insults and cursing and lots of fun.
    It like the old WWF contrasted with today’s Olympic wrestling. I do miss the nut jobs that have been banned but I guess this is probably better.
    And, once again thanks to dr.e for all your dedication and hard work herding cats (and some dogs).

  14. I would have liked to have joined in again, but I have been busy taking science and statistic courses (my husband said it was ok).

  15. LOL, zuzai.

    Dduck- 157? Heck, I remember being involved in some that went to 300 or more.

    I didn’t curse though. That was the other folks. :-)

  16. Z, that sounds like so much fun who can blame you.
    I’ve taken a few sadistic courses in my time and I am not even a masochist.
    Yes, CS, I understated to increase believability.

  17. :) dd

  18. Well, then so how do you know when these things are over? Do you each keep score on who made the most points, or do you just suddenly stop because something came up….like the 2014 elections or something? :)

  19. sheknows, it’s over when everyone concedes that I’m right.:)

    roro: “If you want to be married mom who rises in the ranks, you must must must have a husband who does half of the childcare and housework.”

    Why only half? If mom goes to work outside the home, and dad doesn’t take on *everything* that mom used to do during that time, then there must be less time and energy devoted to family and parenting.

    I’m cherry-picking your comment, I realize. But, my relative ignorance of feminists noted, I’m doubtful that many feminists expected total hours per couple worked to remain constant as women entered the workforce in greater number. I could very well be wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time and unfortunately won’t be the last.

  20. hi there, this thread has gotten off track with comments about commenters. Read the commenters rules at the top of the home page. Most of the time, though I will try to find the time, there’s really little time to edit remarks that break civility. Remarks that try to mind read others’ minds, engage in baiting, and other trying to ‘correct’ or personally insult/callout/ attempt to chap others re what they are REALLY doing, saying, thinking, that is wrong [in their opinion] etc will be deleted now most of the time. I’ve noticed long periods of time of just and interesting discussion can be stirred into boorish and boring reading by any commenter deciding they ought step outside the premiere rule of civil discussion.

    Please keep to the topic of the post, not the writers nor commenters.

    Our readers scroll right past such personalized chaff about other commenters, not staying on the page long enough to read others comments. They also scroll past the long unparagrahped renderings as well as comments that go on for a long time. Readers read for quick content, analyses, interesting teachings, facts.

    If a commenter wants to be uncivil, badger, attempt to dominate, sit ringside to get splattered with offal, etc., there are millions of sites on the internet where one can go do so, and have at it to heart’s content day in and day out, night and day. Just not here.

    Always appreciate your thoughts in depth that contribute to learning and discussion. I learn alot by reading your comments often. So do many others.

    Thanks,
    archangel/ dr.e

  21. For what I “twisted”, I meant that it was the logical conclusion from what you said. If one parent has to stay home in order for the couple to be good parents, because women pretty uniformly earn less than their husbands (for an analysis of why and to what extent, see: http://faculty.chicagobooth.ed.....entity.pdf), that means that if one parent stays home, it will almost always be the woman. So, if one parent must stay at home in order to be good parents, then a mom has to stay home with her kids in order to be a good mom. We’d already discussed the rarety of women making more than their husbands, so I presumed that to be among the facts on which to base the statement. Your statement, plus this fact, has the effect of what you consider “twisting” what you said. I didn’t twist it, I merely gave its logical conclusion based upon the facts.

  22. The idea of affordable, high-quality daycare isn’t “magical thinking”, and neither are policies that would/do encourage it. Licencing, oversight, education of parents and care-givers, subsidies, pre-K education options, etc — just thinking on it for 5 seconds.

  23. “The difference is the assumption that this is the best we can do for families”

    No, the difference is the assumption that there exists exactly one “best”, and unless we can do that one “best” thing for everyone, we should ignore all the “better” we could do. There doesn’t, we won’t, and we shouldn’t, as I’ve tried to make clear umpteen times on this thread. It is a fact that mom staying home with the kids is not the best solution for many, many families. If it were, everyone would do it that way. It was for yours — again, super! — but it is indisputable that it is not the best for everyone.

  24. “Why only half? If mom goes to work outside the home, and dad doesn’t take on *everything* that mom used to do during that time, then there must be less time and energy devoted to family and parenting.”

    ??? I don’t understand what you’re saying, really. It could also be that there’s less time devoted to watching football, or less time devoted to pedicures, or less time devoted to exercizing without the kids, or less time devoted to cooking, or less time devoted to cleaning, or any number of things that might get less time when going from total parent work hours of 40/week to 80/week. Or are you saying women will never be happy until their husbands do absolutely everything around the house? I really don’t know what you mean.

    “I’m doubtful that many feminists expected total hours per couple worked to remain constant as women entered the workforce in greater number.”

    I’m not understanding how conservation of total hours worked has anything to do with anything. No, feminists have not promoted that. There has been much talk about the assault on the American worker over the last few decades (union busting, going from pension to 401k systems, cutting benefits, lack of PTO or sick time, outsourcing, etc), but I can’t tell if that’s what you mean.

  25. “The difference is the assumption that this is the best we can do for families”

    I guess CStanley that where I’m having a hard time is what you think could be done to get to a situation where one parent could always stay home with the kids. I mean, I can think of some things that would help — bring back manufacturing jobs in huge numbers, educate everyone for higher-earning jobs, raise the minimum wage so that a family can live on just one, give everyone free healthcare so families don’t need to take on extra jobs just to pay for routine healthcare or illness, greatly strengthen other aspects of the social safety net so people aren’t so economically insecure, subsidize single-parent households, etc etc. But something tells me that’s not what you or other conservatives are proposing…

  26. roro,

    That’s a good point. My assertion was based on the assumption that families with kids primarily are balancing their time between work and family-related activities. So, if more time is spent working, then less is spent with the family and, specifically, the kids. But it’s true that that time could come from other places as well. I was curious and found these statistics:

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus2.t02.htm

    If you compare the columns where both parents work to the ones where only the father works (we don’t have stats for if only the mother works), a few things jump out: parents who both work spend less time on household activities, caring for and helping household members, and leisure and sports. That makes sense as that’s pretty much the only time there is to draw from (well, besides sleep). The point I’ll make about these stats is that spending less time on any or all of those three categories, which I think is pretty much necessary if both parents are working, has downsides. And since spending sufficient time on all of those categories is important for a child’s development, I don’t think it’s a stretch to argue that one of those downsides could be a deficiency in childhood development. That’s not to say couples can’t make it work, of course, just that it’s harder, which means over the whole population fewer couples will be successful.

    By the way, I’m sure you’ll notice that these numbers do bolster your claim that men don’t step up as much as they should to help out with household work and childcare when both parents work. That’s true and balance is important. But the combined amount of time is more relevant to the question of whether children are getting enough attention.

  27. “we don’t have stats for if only the mother works”

    As noted, it’s extremely rare.

    “The point I’ll make about these stats is that spending less time on any or all of those three categories, which I think is pretty much necessary if both parents are working, has downsides”

    Every choice has a tradeoff, ad. Some are clearly worse than others. Is it really important for a child’s development to see mom to spend 2 more hours a day doing housework? Is it surprising — or at all alarming or harmful — that a mom who doesn’t work outside the house would have time to make a 2-hour dinner instead of a 20-minute one? And when it comes down to it, and let’s make this really clear: data has no indications that children’s educations suffer in dual income households. In fact, for girls, there’s a positive correlation between educational outcomes with a working mom, for what should be obvious reasons.

    “I’m sure you’ll notice that these numbers do bolster your claim that men don’t step up as much as they should to help out with household work and childcare when both parents work.”

    My claim that that happens wasn’t based on anecdote (my husband is pretty good, actually); most of the time when I say something it is because I’ve seen the data on it. Not always, but usually. The google search I told you to do if you wanted info on this would have brought up analysis of this data.

    “But the combined amount of time is more relevant to the question of whether children are getting enough attention.”

    I’m sorry ad, but you’re going to have to back this statement up with anything resembling data or proof. You are feeling out what you think is right, and it just is simply not supported by outcomes. I would imagine that a stay-at-home mom who plops her kids in front of the tv or video games all day is doing less good than a working mom who spends an hour of quality time with her kids each day while other needs are taken care of by daycare or a nanny.

    Number of parental hours spent in the house is just simply not anywhere near the number one factor in predicting educational outcomes. You know what is? Poverty. All other factors aside, wealthy kids do better in school than poor kids. Wealthy kids with working moms do as well as wealthy kids with stay-at-home moms. This should make a lot of sense, as educational outcomes have fallen as poverty has risen, and our wealthy kids are getting just as good an education as they always have.

    Furthermore, I think there’s a lot of unnecessary handwringing over our education system. What we really need to do is to kill No Child Left Behind, scrap the tests that go with it, and use that money to fund art, music, PE, and other enrichment programs. We need to slow down math education to where it was 10 years ago — teaching a bunch of kids algebra when they were rushed through their multiplication tables is a waste of time, and will (and does) make most kids hate math. We need to suppliment with fun, hands-on technology training. Places like China, with much better scores on rote memorization tests, have a great system for teaching a certain way. But there’s a reason that everything innovative is still designed here or in Europe, and then manufactured in China. What we’re doing now is trying to force a culture that will never be like China or India into a system of education designed for those countries. We will not only fail at raising our rote skills, but we will simultaneously wring the advantages we do have (creativity, management, innovation, consumer product design, leadership) out of our kids. Really, really stupid.

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