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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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