2. Ascertain the degree to which the NSC can (or cannot) lend assistance in this instance and what your specific role in this decision will be.
In 2012, Americans were ranked 117th of 193 countries for geographical knowledge, a very poor showing. The National Geographic Society confirmed it that year with a study showing that, among Americans aged 18 to 24:
*30% could not find the Pacific Ocean on a map
*More 50% could not locate India
*85% could not find Iraq
*33% could not locate Louisiana and almost 50% of respondents were unable to identify Mississippi or New York
*Only 89% could find Texas and California
*Less than 30% of those polled believe that it was necessary to be able to locate countries in the news on a map
*87% thought Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe were countries, and not continents
*78% could not name the correct number on continents on Earth and only 10% could name them all
*75% could not locate Israel on a map of the Middle East
*30% thought that the most fortified border in the world was between Mexico and the US
*And 11% couldn’t even find their own country, the UNITED STATES on the world map
A National Geographic-Roper Public Affairs Geographic Literacy Study in 2006 painted a dismal picture of the geographic knowledge of the most recent high school graduates.
*88% percent of those questioned could not find Afghanistan on a map of Asia despite widespread coverage of the US-led overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 and the political rebirth of the country
*63% could not find Iraq or Saudi Arabia on a map and 75% could not point out Iran or Israel. 44% couldn’t find any one of those four countries
*Recently, American Idol Kellie Pickler appeared on US television game show ‘Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?’ and was asked what country had Budapest as its capital. She had never even heard of Hungary and she thought Europe was a country.
*Only about 20% of Americans have passports, but that’s no guarantee they know anything about the world in which they live. One survey asked passengers returning from Europe to show on a map where they had just been vacationing for the last week, and 32% were unable to locate the country or countries.
Los Angeles ? In one of his trademark random Jaywalking interviews with people strolling down the street, Jay Leno spoke recently with a young man, where the following conversation took place:
‘Who was the leader of Germany in World War II?’ Leno asked.
‘Hitler?’ the young man ventured.
‘What was his first name?’
‘Just Hitler, wasn’t it?’
‘Hitler Hitler? He didn’t have a first name? Was it Robert?’
‘He was just known as Hitler . . . like Cher.’