Bernie Sanders was on CNN’s “New Day’ this week talking about the ISIS and conflict in the Middle East.
“I’m sitting here wondering where Saudi Arabia is, where Kuwait is, where Qatar is…”
Really, Bernie Sanders? I’m sure that’s just rhetoric. Surely a Senator can locate these countries on a map, right? Our elected officials have to have better than a middle school Social Studies education right?
Oh, well… okay, so maybe not.
Anyway, personal politics aside, this is seriously embarrassing. It perpetuates the stereotype of the dumb American. In our increasingly globalized world, we can’t tolerate this level of ignorance in our officials and we certainly can’t allow our students to enter the great big world with such dangerous misconceptions.
How do they compete economically with countries they can’t find? Work with colleagues whose cultures they don’t understand?
Many of our sons and daughters will go overseas to protect us back home – and some of them will give their lives on foreign soils so that we may enjoy our freedoms here. If for no other reason, we owe it to our troops to know where they’re going, where we’re sending them.
Where we live influences how we live. We can only really understand ourselves when we look at others as a foil. Geography matters.
Here’s a few of my favorite resources for Geography Education.
- Love Fantasy Football? Try Fantasy Geopolitics.
- We can’t talk about Geography without Nat Geo – tons of free stuff for teachers.
- Get behind these two organizations who advocate for Social Studies education and Geography Education – the National Council for the Social Studies and the National Council for Geography Education
- Understanding cultures and conflict of the Middle East is a critical skill in order for our students to enter the real world. The Outreach Program at the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arizona has TONS of resources, lessons, contests, programs, professional development for teachers. Be sure to sign up for the mailing list!
- How about a free magazine for your class? Check out Saudi Aramco World.