Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Many Young Adults In The U.S. Can't Find "X" On A Map

I was saddened when I read this in today's Arizona Republic:

A recent geographic literacy survey polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in nine countries. The results: The United States came in second-to-last, ahead of Mexico. Eleven percent of young Americans couldn't locate their country on a world map.

Gale Ekiss, co-coordinator for the Arizona Geographic Alliance, said a push for geography education is more critical than ever as many of today's teachers, pressured by the demands of state and federal testing, brush the subject aside to concentrate on basic standards.

"We know reading, writing and math are essential skills, but geography provides context for a different set of skills," Ekiss said.

When children have a grasp on geographic concepts, Ekiss said, they might understand why conflict exists in the Middle East, why a tsunami struck South Asia, or why Arizonans encounter problems with water.

The piece goes on to tell how some Arizona teachers are laboring to redress their students' deficiencies in geographic knowledge. To read the whole article, click here.

Here in our middle-sized California county, there is no school district where students study geography as a separate subject. According to the state academic content standards for
history-social science, however, students are supposed to develop a comprehensive knowledge of geography.

But since geography is not a "testable" item, its study is being neglected in many California schools. We think that this will prove to be a disservice to the kids.

I guess that we are in for a few more disappointing poll results regarding American students' knowledge of history.

An Invitation: Please consider contributing to The Carnival Of Education: Week 3. All submissions should be received by 10:00 PM (Pacific) this Tuesday, February 22nd. They may be sent to owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net. Get all the details here. To view the First Edition of The Carnival, click here. The Second Edition can be viewed here. The Carnival will open here at the 'Wonks Wednesday morning.

Any help that can be given by our fellow writers in the 'Sphere publicizing this carnival would be deeply appreciated.

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