‘Mom in the workplace’ hurts kids’ education, says Gov. Bryant

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Just one day has passed since the College Republican National Committee released a report detailing the reasons why the GOP lost the under-30 vote in 2012 election. Among other things, the report showed that young voters associated the GOP with words like “closed-minded” and “old-fashioned.” The report also pointed to the “outrageous statements made by errant Republican voices.”

These findings are not dramatically different from the overall post-election autopsy released by the Republican National Committee earlier this year. Unfortunately for Republicans hoping to address voters’ concerns, some members of the party continue to make the same blunders that caused problems in 2012.

Enter Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who participated in a Washington Post Live forum with fellow governors Jack Markell of Delaware (a Democrat) and Republican Susana Martinez of New Mexico. The panel focused largely on the U.S. education system, with emphasis on childhood literacy. At one point, the moderator asked the state leaders why the system tended to produce “mediocre” outcomes in areas like reading proficiency.

Governor Bryant chimed in first. “Both parents started working,” he began. “Mom is in the workplace.”

Bryant shifted gears almost immediately, joking that his response would provoke backlash, and commending the advancement of women in the workplace (specifically gesturing to the woman moderating the discussion).

“I can see the emails tomorrow,” he said, before expanding on his answer and pointing to the fact that both parents have less time on their hands due to pressure in the work environment.

But the bottom line is that Governor Bryant’s response to a question about the problems in our education system had exactly zero to do with teachers or school policies. Should parents really take the brunt of the blame for poor results in reading proficiency? In fact, that approach seems to offer no path to improving education here in the United States. Should we encourage more parents not to put their own education to use in the workforce?

Take a look at the Hardball Sideshow for more on Governor Bryant’s comments.

'Mom in the workplace' hurts kids' education, says Gov. Bryant