Bryant in DC blames working moms for mediocre education

WASHINGTON, DC (WLOX) - Governor Phil Bryant's comments on working moms are drawing nationwide attention after he said our nation's educational challenges came about after mothers moved into the workforce.

The comments came Tuesday morning during a live online Washington Post forum on the importance of reading.

Three participating governors were asked how America became so mediocre in terms of educating our children. While the other state leaders pointed to problems like an adult-driven education system, or low teacher standards, Bryant pointed to working moms, then quickly backtracked.

"To tell you the truth, both parents started working," Bryant answered. "The mom is in the work place. And it's not a bad thing. I'm gonna get in trouble, I can see the emails tomorrow. But now both parents are working, pursuing their careers, and that's a great American story that women are in the workplace."

The event moderator, Washington Post journalist Mary Jordan, then asked, "So it's a mother's place to teach them to read?"

The governor replied, "No, no, but I think there was that loving, nurturing opportunity that both parents had a little bit of time."

Bryant credited his dad, an avid reader, with inspiring and teaching him.

The other participating governors included Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a democrat, and republican Gov. Susana Martinez from New Mexico

Mississippi Democrats have jumped on the comments, saying "the 1950's 'Father Knows Best' picket fence middle-class family myth has never been an option for most Mississippians."

"A lot more Mississippi mothers have had callouses of hard work than have ever had manicures," wrote Rickey Cole, Executive Director of the Mississippi Democratic Party.

"Throughout the 200 year history of our state, most mothers have been forced by necessity to work as breadwinners for their families. Whether that work took place in the fields, in the logwoods, as domestic workers, as teachers, as nurses, as factory workers, in food service, in retail or in many other fields of arduous work, the mothers of Mississippi have been bringing home the bacon since Mississippi began."

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.