Good News, Kids! American Adults Are Idiots Too.

Every year someone does a survey of high school students and produces an alarming headline. Eighty percent of kids can’t find France on a map! Two-thirds of seniors don’t know what the First Amendment says!

My immediate reaction is: yeah, but I bet adults are idiots too. It’s just that no one studies them.

But they do! I just learned serendipitously that the OECD periodically conducts an international test of adult literacy and numeracy. It’s called PIAAC, and this is the first I’ve heard of it. I have a feeling I’m going to have some fun with this once I figure out how their data tool works, but for now I’m going to toss out the basic data for you to mull over. Here it is:

I’m only going to comment on one thing right now: the US scores dead last on “problem solving in technology-rich environments,” and yet the US is easily the world leader in creating technology-rich environments. Something doesn’t add up.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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