5/02/2006

so I just read this article - "Americans lacking in geographic literacy." It's about a National Geographic survey that showed people don't much about geography. The survey said 50% of Americans couldn't find Mississippi on a map, 60% couldn't find Iraq, 75% couldn't find Israel, 2/3 thought English was the most widely spoken native language, and on and on. It's ridiculous, as people really don't know much about their world, mainly because geography is not taught in schools. I had been interested in geography my entire life, and couldn't take it until college because none of my schools offered it. And for college, I had to specifically choose a college that had geography, because most places don't have it. It's crazy. I think geography really ought to be taught more often, not just "memorize the state capitals" but more in depth, such as why people live where they are, why certain areas have oil and where those places are, stuff about water resources, why certain ethnic conflicts are caused, and so on. It could even be integrated into a civics or current events class where students learn about what's going on in the world (and use maps a lot).

6 comments:

Edmund Schluessel said...

Those figures are even worse when you realize that, assuming an even geographic distribution of the surveys, around 1% of the respondents are from Mississippi.

Even assuming generously, that still means there's a significant portion of people in the US that can't find their own damn state.

handels said...

i've GOT to tell hunter about this, it'll make her nuts. she makes her kids do map quizzes - just of the US - in her classes, and the kids have no clue, and even get VA wrong with some regularity. i couldn't do all 50, but i can damn well find every state i've lived in!

Anonymous said...

all your posts start with "so"

Andrew said...

doh, to both edmund and handelbars. and anonymous - you are so right!

Capt. Lucinda Caufield, APCD said...

...I'm always a little skeptical of stats like these. Of the people who didn't know Mississippi, how many got it confused with Alabama? If its a lot, I don't think thats a major problem because thats an easy mistake to make. I think its more revealing about the fact that no one really cares too much about Mississippi because it ain't that interesting. I looked at a map yesterday and couldn't "find" Afghanistan. I actually could find it, I was just surprised it was landlocked and I wouldn't have guessed that. You could make the argument that English is the most "widely spoken" language. I think Chinese is spoken by the largest amount of people (not sure), but a huge majority of the people who speak it live in a country called China, few speak the language elsewhere, whereas English is a more common language in a wider variety of places. Boom!

Andrew said...

if you say so adam