- The Washington Times - Monday, August 21, 2017


There are seven classical wonders of the world. Can you name them all?

(Hint: None are in the United States.)

There are seven new wonders of the world. Can you name all of them.

(Hint: Only one is in America.)

Geography and its global cultural and political roles in the public square are taught in America’s schoolhouses. However, the courses obviously have not been reaching all Americans.

Moreover, anti-white privilege discourse and the angry, violent hooliganism determined to rip America apart isn’t even paying attention. It’s a clear sign that the gap in teaching and learning are farther apart than the wage and wealth gaps.

In Baltimore on Monday, a statue of Christopher Columbus, who “discovered” America in 1492, was bludgeoned. A YouTube channel titled “Popular Resistance” posted footage of men in hoodies hammering the obelisk, a monument to Columbus and his famous voyage in 1492. The individuals carried signs that read “Racism: Tear it down,” and “The future is racial and economic justice.”

Damn “culture of white supremacy.” The reputation of Columbus, an Italian explorer, is racked with slavery and genocide.

Let’s not digress, though.

The point that must be made is that geography lessons mustn’t be confined to a classroom, and here’s one reason why: Students who do not get the opportunity to travel do not benefit.

On Tuesday D.C. officials and leaders in the travel and hospitality industries are scheduled to hold a press conference to boast about the nation’s capital’s record tourism dollars.

In 2016 domestic visitors grew to 20 million, and they and foreign visitors spent $7.3 billion. In the meantime, the tourism industry supports 74,654 D.C. jobs.

You needn’t hold your applause, but you probably should ask, “Do D.C. schoolkids get out to see the wonders that draw all these folks to the city?”

Sure, D.C. Public Schools allow field trips, if parents, principals, administrators and teachers plow through the enormity of the red tape.

There is so much rich history between, say, New York City and Richmond, and a field trip per quarter would benefit students far more than they gain by simply preparing for a standardized geography test.

And living as they do in the District, students would grasp the wonders of being a global citizen: “Where are those people from?” “Why do they dress like that?” “Why do they talk like that?”

There is a Smithsonian or National Geographic event or theater or museum representing perhaps everything imaginable.

For goodness sake, D.C. schools should even sponsor visits to the National Zoo.

There was a time when public schools expected students to know the states and capitals by the time they reached middle school, right?

Well, meet Joshua Hicks, a 4-year-old Kentucky boy who is a huge fan of geography. In fact, Joshua knows all 50 states and their capitals, all countries of the world and their capitals and all of the continents.

He also loves SpongeBob.

At this rate, though, Joshua could be smarter than many fifth-graders.

But the really sad thing is that Joshua’s obviously smarter than some of the grown folks who keep tearing America apart.

Wonder no more.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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