Are Americans hostile to global knowledge? Part 2

Americans’ alleged hostility to
global knowledge continues to attract media attention following last week’s feature of Susan Jacoby’s book, The
Age of American Unreason
. In a recent spot on the Today Show, Matt Lauer interviewed the author. Jacoby offered insight into the phenomena of
anti-intellectualism and geographic illiteracy, again citing the National
Geographic-Roper Poll.

An entertaining, yet disturbing,
intro to the segment featured what Lauer characterized as “pop-culture
lowlights.” A compilation of clips from reality shows, late night TV programs,
and You Tube videos depicted geographic and general knowledge “bloopers,” all
seeming to indicate that America is in fact “getting dumber.” Jacoby
these sentiments.

So what’s to be done about the crisis in Americans’ global
knowledge? Jacoby places a majority of
the blame on a culture of
anti-intellectualism, an accusation with which I do not necessarily agree. More
accurate, I think, is her critique of an educational system that fails to
prepare students for success in a global society.

There exists a critical need to expand geographic education
offerings in schools, and also at home and in the community. It is imperative
that children receive a comprehensive, sophisticated, high-quality geographic
education that both inspires them to care about the planet, its resources, and
its inhabitants– and teaches them HOW to do so. This information must be
presented in an engaging, personally relevant format that encourages students
to become lifelong learners and active global citizens as adults. It’s a lofty
goal, but one to which the My Wonderful World team, our 26 coalition partners,
and our colleagues at National Geographic are firmly committed. So please visit today, and tell a friend to do the same. Join the campaign
and become an activist in the quest to produce a globally knowledgeable,
geographically literate U.S. population.

Tell Us: How important to you is global knowledge?

Sarah for My Wonderful World

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