Not important enough to teach

How many young Americans have no idea where Afghanistan is?
How many could not find Israel on a globe?
Or Paris?
Or even London?
How many do not know England is an island?
Or have at least a rough idea where the city of St. Louis is?
I’ll tell you. Not many.
My claim is anecdotal. I have not conducted a scientific survey. But I talk with hundreds of college students on a regular basis and what they don’t know is eye-opening.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming them. How can you expect someone to know something they’ve never been taught? And long ago someone decided geography was not worth teaching.
It’s not just young people who lack knowledge of geography either. A few years ago I wound up in a conversation with a person who did not know the English Channel separated England from mainland Europe. And this person had a master’s degree.
I wondered if this person saw the movie “Dunkirk.” And understood it.
We’ve also stopped teaching civics, a class I took as a high school freshman. Civics and Pennsylvania history, which we also no longer teach.
The Supreme Court has been in the news lately. But have you any idea how many Americans know the Supreme Court is one of the three branches of the federal government? And what their roles are?
Ask around and you’ll find out.
Also ask if they know the difference between a State Representative and a Congressman.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people I know, mostly well-educated adults, refer to “Congressman” Mike Carroll.
I don’t want to embarrass them by setting them straight. But I can’t help but cringe when I hear it.

Ed Ackerman