Oh, the Places We’ll Go

My Wonderful World is delighted to be joined today by
Jan Harp Domene, President of coalition partner the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Jan identifies the current election season as an opportunity to make the case for expanding geographic education offerings nationwide, and highlights the PTA’s efforts to get students involved in learning about civics and geopolitical issues.

In light of last Friday’s presidential debate on foreign
policy and the impending global economic crisis, I can’t think of a better time
to be talking about the world and the role we play in it. And by “we,” I mean everybody—not just the people
who want to be President next January. I
tell the young parents who join PTA that they are the future leaders of our
organization, but it’s also true that kids are the future leaders of our
country. They might grow up to be the President,
or they might be the head of their own company, or they might be a leader in
their own community. Whatever path they
take, kids today will almost certainly be more connected to the world outside
our borders than the generation that preceded them.

So how are we preparing our kids for this world that seems
to be getting smaller and smaller? In
addition to the basics like math, science, and reading, are we also teaching
them about civics and art and geography and language? Understanding other cultures, and even our
own evolving America,
is going to be increasingly important as time goes on. Consider this: there are already more than twice
as many people
in the world primarily speaking Mandarin as there are
primarily speaking English—with that gap likely to get bigger in the coming
decades. And what does it mean that in
2050 there will be more school-age Hispanic
than school-age non-Hispanic
white children in the United States? Regardless of where we live, the odds are increasing that we’re going to
be talking to people from all over the map. If we’re going to understand one another, a good place to start is knowing
where exactly on that map we’re all from. That’s why we’re so proud to be a
part of the My
Wonderful World coalition
along with
National Geographic and other leading organizations. Working together, we’ve
created an action
to help parents become advocates on behalf of geographic

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