Ashley Dang

Do you know your geography? Reporter Phoebe Sousa questions students at Seminole High School and the results are shocking!

It’s no secret that American students are lousy at geography and have been for quite some time. On the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, nearly three-quarters of eighth-graders scored below proficient in geography, which is nearly identical to the 1994 result.

Yet, the majority of states do not mandate geography classes in middle or high school. Only 17 states required a geography course in middle school in 2013, and ten states required a geography course for students to graduate from high school. Clearly, with the lack of geography classes that are required for students, it’s no wonder why our country struggles with knowing where Russia is located.

Due to the strong emphasis placed on reading, math, and science at both the national and state levels, spending time and resources on geography education is difficult. Even federal law mandates that students only be tests on those three subjects. State education officials and K-12 teachers were contacted as part of the investigation. 

Florida had removed geography from the curriculum for more than a decade, only to reintroduce it recently in response to community complaints that pupils were lacking basic knowledge in geography. The limited knowledge students possess regarding geographic information and location-based technologies across different sectors of the economy has raised concerns about whether K-12 children have the necessary skills and geography exposure to address future job needs.

To further the investigation, the Seminole Times has interviewed students about their knowledge in geography. Check it out on our Instagram: @seminolenewspaper