Gee wiz…just what are the kids learning in school? Seems that nothing of importance is being taught anymore!
A new bill in Congress seeks to improve geography literacy in U.S. public schools. The Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act would provide authority for the Department of Education to make grants to schools that want to improve their geography curricula, teacher training, and instructional materials.
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, who introduced the bill last week, says more federal support is needed to provide students with a better understanding of the world as it exists today. “Americans are less and less able to pinpoint where different countries are located and what their interests are,” he says.
This kind of information is important, Cochran asserts, perhaps now more than ever. “In this global economy and the fact that we’re in this global war on terror,” he says, “it just occurs to me that we need to encourage the teaching of geography so people are more familiar with what the world is like and what people of different countries’ attitudes are.”
The Mississippi senator notes that the lack of adequate geographic knowledge is a widespread problem in America. “Only seven percent of our nation’s fourth graders are taught by teachers who have specific background in education in geography,” he says. "Even the teachers are deficient in education in this area."
Also, Cochran points out, in the U.S. “only about 25 percent of high school students have completed a geography class. So the statistics are disturbing.”
The Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act would provide $15 million in federal grant money per year for five years to a nonprofit educational organization to improve the quality of students’ understanding of the subject. Co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Conrad Burns of Montana, Ted Stevens of Alaska, John Warner of Virginia, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut