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.

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate