Land of the free, home of the globally ignorant

Americans often show ignorance in their lack of world knowledge

A meme that depicts an exchange between President Trump and the Prime Minister of India.

Abigail Hicks

A meme that depicts an exchange between President Trump and the Prime Minister of India.

Abigail Hicks, Staff Writer, News/Stall Seat Journal Editor

While the United States may excel in things like entertainment, customer service, and obesity, it falls short in the realm of language proficiency and basic global familiarity.

For the majority of the United States, education in another language does not begin until middle or high school. In fact, only 15 percent of elementary schools around America begin to teach students a second language, according to Quartz.

In comparison, 73 percent of primary schools in Europe require students to learn English. With this in mind, the percentage of bilingual Americans only makes sense. About 20 percent of Americans consider themselves bilingual, according to Language Line, while 54 percent of Europeans can speak a second language well enough to hold a conversation.

Education on languages outside of English holds Americans back from being on par with other countries around the world.

Outside of languages, Americans belong to a stereotype of unfamiliarity with basic world geography.

According to the Nation’s Report Card, nearly 75 percent of eighth-graders scored below proficiency when tested on geography. This statistic proves the severity of ignorance amongst Americans, even with basic geography.

“From my experience, I would say that unfortunately, Americans aren’t very educated about the world around them. Whether that be in terms of geography, culture, religion, etc.,” said senior Mehtap Yercel.

What does this mean for Americans?

Naturally, this reflects poorly upon the American image and education system. The United States does not belong amongst the highest-ranked countries for education systems, so the surplus of ignorance acts as validation for the stereotypes. The Nation’s Report Card also reports that half of the social studies teacher population spend only 10 percent of their time on geography lessons. On top of that, a grand majority of states do not require students to learn geography in middle and high school.

The present ignorance also isolates Americans from other countries and cultures. Without any nationwide attempts to expand global familiarity, United States citizens bear little to no connection to the outside world and its affairs.

“I personally think that the average American’s overall knowledge of the world around them is not as much as it should be,” said senior Sai Singamsetty. “I feel that they rely too much on generalizations to know about other places.”