The United States prides itself on being the richest, most powerful nation on the planet. So it stands to reason that its students should also rank among the highest. Sorry, my friends, not so. According to results of the OECD, that measured 265,000 15-year-olds' literacy in reading, mathematics and science, Finland, Japan, Korea, and Canada were on top. In fact the US was in the 15th place in reading, 19th place in math, and 15th place in science.
Geography??? Most can’t find the state they live in on a map of the U.S. And when asked to point out Iraq on a globe, most have absolutely no idea where it is located. Which makes the following news story all the more incredible.
Denver Post, August 24, 2006
Teacher showing foreign flags put on leave
“A seventh-grade geography teacher [Eric Hamlin] who refused to remove Chinese, Mexican and United Nations flags from his classroom was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday by Jefferson County officials who were concerned that the display violates the law.
District officials said state law forbids the display of foreign flags unless they are temporary and related to the curriculum. Carmody Middle School principal John Schalk looked at the curriculum for Eric Hamlin's world geography class "and there was nothing related to any of these countries," said Lynn Setzer, district spokeswoman. . . .
Hamlin, in his first year at Carmody, said he regularly displays flags from different countries, rotating them out based on countries being studied. He said that the first six weeks of school are devoted to discussing the "fundamentals of geography" and that the flags were randomly selected.”