Thursday, March 02, 2006

Where is the condemnation for a teacher who corrupts the education system?

Can you imagine the earth-shattering howls of indignation that would arise from the Left in this country were a high-school teacher to simply set aside school policies and start expounding in a civics class on the lack of good Christian morals present in politicans today? The merest mention of the term “good Christian morals” in any tone other than sneering sarcasm would be met with demands for the resignation of the teacher, the principal, and very likely any school board member who had a hand in hiring either one. That story would be getting airtime on every major TV network and would likely appear on page 1 of most of the major daily newspapers.

So where are these folks when a high school teacher decides to make use of a geography class to launch a rant about how America is the most violent country on the planet led by a man with “eeire similarities” to Hilter? (Via Michelle Malkin and Slapstick Politics. Michelle’s putting up a transcript for those of us without the time or ability to listen to the podcast of the audio tape taken by a student in the class at the time.) This kind of commentary has absolutely no place in a public high school. Judgments like these are highly subjective - not to mention the “Hitler” crack being fallaciously emotive, in addition - and require a wider array of experience and knowledge to even adequately discuss than is present in the average high school class. As I have said on many, many occasions, high school teachers should be sticking to the facts of their subjects and leave the politics for later in the student’s life.

Given the results from the National Geographic surveys on the topic of geographic literacy , I would think that a geography teacher would have enough to do to actually have students know geography. The last survey, taken in 2002, had some nearly-unbelievable results:

The National Geographic–Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States.

Sweden scored highest; Mexico, lowest. The U.S. was next to last.

"The survey demonstrates the geographic illiteracy of the United States," said Robert Pastor, professor of International Relations at American University, in Washington, D.C. "The results are particularly appalling in light of September 11, which traumatized America and revealed that our destiny is connected to the rest of the world."

About 11 percent of young citizens of the U.S. couldn't even locate the U.S. on a map. The Pacific Ocean's location was a mystery to 29 percent; Japan, to 58 percent; France, to 65 percent; and the United Kingdom, to 69 percent.

Think about that: pick any 10 people ages 18-24 and 7 of them won’t be able to pick out Britain on a map. Six won’t know where Japan or France are. Three won’t be able to identify that humongous blank area out west as the Pacific Ocean. One of them will look at you blankly when you ask them to point to their own country.

Here’s an idea, high school teachers. Teach your damn subject well enough that surveys like this one don’t come back with such abyssmal results and then start shooting your mouth off about your politics. Not before.