I can recite the quadratic formula on command, I can plot a graph of tangent, but I can only fill in 27 states correctly on a blank map of the United States.
I have had almost 12 years of an MCPS education, but I have never once had a unit of geography. I am not alone. In a survey of 30 CHS students, only seven could correctly point to Wyoming on a map of the United States.
did a study on America’s geographic literacy in 2006, and the results were dismal, with only half of the participants being able to point to New York. Still no one seems to be doing anything to change this.
School is supposed to be all about preparing students to succeed in the real world, yet MCPS is leaving its students with a large gap of knowledge.
An article on the College Board website, Why Geography?, clearly states that geography is necessary for students’ development because it shows them how interconnected the world really is, yet no AP class places any sort of emphasis on teaching the layout of the world.
According to the College Board website, the purpose of AP Human Geography is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped the human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students learn to employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications.
No where in the description does it mention actually teaching students where states and countries are located.
According to AP Human Geography teacher Douglas Kraus, while there is one unit that focuses on location, there should be more emphasis on teaching students geography because it is so important for a world that is increasing in globalization.
It is time for change. Geography is not a hard concept to understand with repetition. After just a few minutes of studying, I was able to boost my score to get 41 out of the 50 states correct.
MCPS should implement a unit of geography in every history class from 6th to 12th grade. U.S. History could easily incorporate a quiz on the 50 states, and World History should have a unit on world geography. In AP classes, units could even be added in after the exam if teachers were worried about fitting in all the material.
Students should be given the best possible chance of succeeding in the real world and geography can help them get there. Students should no longer be left wondering: where is Wyoming?