This is off-topic, but as an expatriate American this struck a chord with me. Here’s hoping that Barack Obama initiates an education revolution in the US, similar to what Kevin Rudd has promised in Australia. A recent Gallup/Harris poll has said that 37% of Americans can’t find the US on a map! What’s worse is some of the quotes from typical Americans about the survey, as reported by the Huffington Post.
“Stuart Weiss, senior sociology professor at Boston College, said although these findings may be surprising to some, they’re by no means atypical.
“‘The sentiment of many Americans is that there’s little intrinsic value in studying a map of a place you’re already at,’ noted Weiss. ‘It’d be like driving to Graceland and then asking for directions once you’ve arrived. Not much point.’
“Shirley Matheson, a part-time Arby’s employee residing in Dayton, Ohio, agreed with Weiss’s assessment. ‘I live in the U.S.A., so why would I need to know where America is? Or the United States for that matter?’
“Added Matheson: ‘As long as there’s still room on that map for all three of those countries, I’m sure everyone will keep getting along just fine.'”
Ooooh boy… but wait, there’s more:
“Of the respondents actually capable of pinpointing America on the map of America, their accuracy decreased considerably with each additional query about the country. Asked for the name of the U.S. capital, those polled placed Washington, D.C., fifth behind ‘Minneapolis-St. Paul,’ ‘Mount Rushmore,’ ‘America City,’ and ‘Whitewater.’
“Despite Americans’ seemingly underdeveloped sense of their own geography, history and domestic policy, they did score high points on the issue of patriotism, calling America ‘the greatest country in the world’ (47 percent), ‘the best state of all the Unites States’ (31 percent), and ‘a place to definitely explore when I finally get my passport’ (22 percent).”
No comment. No comment at all. No, really, I mean no comment at all…