American Students Do Not Know Enough About Geography

Do you know what causes an earthquake? Or where the American Southwest is? Well, if you do, you have a much better grasp on geography than most eight graders in this country, according to a new report.
The report, which was created from the results of the 2010 National Assessment of Education Progress test, said that fewer than one-third of American students are considered proficient in geography. High school seniors scored, on average, 56.4 percent on this test. This is unfortunate for our nation because it shows that students are not being prepared to work in a global workforce.
“Geography is not just about maps,” said David Driscoll, the chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board. “It is a rich and varied disciple that, now more than ever, is vital to understanding the connections between our global economy, environment, and diverse cultures.”

Obviously, if the goal is to prepare American students to become members of an international workforce, our public education systems should change how they teach geography…if they even teach it at all. During my elementary and middle school careers, I only had geography classes every other semester. I am not saying that this is normal, but I can say that it had a negative effect on my education. I was not able to name all seven continents until middle school and I still do not know where many countries in Eastern Europe and Africa are on a map. I have a feeling that I’m not alone.
“Geography’s role in the curriculum is limited, and, at best, static,” said Roger Downs, a geography professor at Pennsylvania State University. “That is ironic given the convincing case that can be made for the importance of geographic literacy.”
The National Assessment of Education Progress test was given to almost 30,000 students in the fourth, eighth, and 12th grade across the country. Students were tested over their knowledge of geography in regards to space and place on Earth, as well as environment issues.
Via The New York Times