Teens show lack of basic knowledge

Mara Gee, Reporter

Testing the amount knowledge Americans have has become somewhat of a sport.

Many videos about this have popped up on YouTube ranging from Jimmy Kimmel asking geography questions of passers by on Hollywood Boulevard to comedians calling Americans dumb.

When given a map of the North America, not one Eyrie staff member could name all 50 states or Canadian provinces.

“It doesn’t surprise me. It’s a good reflection of society and [the] need for a required world geography course to graduate,” Nickolaus Bastian, geography teacher, said.

Staff members were also given maps of the Middle East and Africa. Out of four sophomores, only two could correctly label Turkey on the map. Three knew Iraq was part of the Middle East, but could not place it.

“That is surprising, [especially] since Libya was in the news a lot during the campaign,” Bastian said. “People voted for or against [a candidate] based on [how the situation was handled]. If you don’t know where the country is, you’re not voting as an informed person.”

Of the maps of Africa, 75 percent of sophomore staff members could correctly name South Africa and Madagascar. Of the maps given to junior staff members, everyone could label Madagascar; whereas, 71 percent of senior staff members could label Madagascar.

Lilee James, junior, said that students could label Madagascar, but little else, “because of the movie.”

Current events seem to be lost on students as well.

In a national survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 86 percent of the 1,002 adults polled knew that the Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes. Out of the 27 seniors polled with the same quiz, 81 percent of them know how Zika is spread.

“[By watching the news] we get an understanding [of the world] that doesn’t just involve the U.S., but could potentially involve people from here,” Katie Dickerson, sophomore, said.

Also on the test was a question about the capital of Kansas and whether or not students could label it. In a combination of the news staff, juniors in history class, and seniors in government, 95 percent could name the capital, but only 17 percent of them could label it on the map provided.

“That’s not surprising,” Dickerson said. “I don’t know [where it is]. I feel like [students would] know the general area.”

According to a survey on the website for the New York Times, “65 percent of Americans can’t name a single Supreme Court justice.”

Compared with the poll of history and government students, 76 percent of them could not identify Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice.

One of the most missed questions was who the current Speaker of the House of Representative is. All classes combined, 36 percent of students did not know that Paul Ryan is the Speaker.