So everyone is talking about the recent comment by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant:
Gov. Phil Bryant’s comments Tuesday about working mothers at a Washington Post forum on education drew national media attention, and more brickbats than bouquets back home in Mississippi on Tuesday.
A Washington Post moderator asked Bryant, How did America get so mediocre in education?
Bryant responded, “Oh, I’m going to get in trouble. You want me to tell the truth? You know, I think both parents started working, and the mom is in the workplace. That’s not a bad thing. I’m going to get in trouble. I can just see the emails tomorrow. But now, both parents are working. They’re pursuing their careers. It’s a great American story now, that women are certainly in the workplace.”
He added:, “In today’s society, parents are so challenged. Not just the mom, but the mom and the dad.” Excerpt from Clarion Ledger
But is he really that far off the mark, if us working moms (myself included) unbunch our underwear at comments seemingly directed at women by a man, shock horror, and look at it in the cold light of day, does he have a point?
I have long thought that the feminist movement and women entering the workplace en masse, aided at least in my country of origin by the Second World War, has had a monumental impact on the modern family. Yes we can afford luxuries, we are empowered and professionally fulfilled and we go on vacations more often but it has largely put us in a position where one person’s salary can no longer support a household. I speak generally of course and there are exceptions to every rule!
But what if we look at Gov. Bryant’s statements with cold pragmatism. Perhaps he is not criticizing women for working, as we all know that we have to work to help support our families. Perhaps he is not criticizing single mothers for being out of the house when we know they don’t want to be. Perhaps he is simply stating that the absence of the mother in a monitoring role during homework time might have an impact on our children’s performance, whatever the reason for the absence might be.
Speaking personally, I know there are days when I can hardly get dinner on the table and if I find the time to discuss, explain or assist with homework, am I really at my best? Is my patience there, is my brain firing on all cylinders or am I mentally thinking about the latest upgrade to oases and did I test this properly or that properly before we release it to our hard working customers, ticking off the things I need to do? The answer quite honestly is no, I am not at my best, I am not one of those super moms.
Gov. Bryant’s mistake was not explaining himself properly or having data upon which to base his opinion, not to mention the narrowing of curriculum in our schools and spoon feeding high-stakes test answers, which is really at the heart of this matter. Yes, he should have voiced his opinion as a contributory factor rather than inferring that this is the only problem with the country’s mediocre education results.
I do not have data either, but I do have a control to my experiment. When I was first in the United States and patiently and legally waiting for my work permit, I took on the role of the stay at home mom, and I know my children received more quality educational attention from me when I was not frazzled from a day at work.
So yes, this author thinks he may have a point! As long at it is cited in context with other perhaps more important glaring failures of the public education system.
What do you think?