So, Miss Teen South Carolina says she misunderstood the question and wasn’t prepared during the now infamous pageant when she flubbed the question about why one in five Americans can’t find the U.S. on a map.
But my guess is that another reason is that the question just seems so unbelievable. Twenty percent of Americans can’t find the U.S. on a map?! Impossible. I’ve taken my own jabs at our education system, but I find it very hard to believe. You have to live under a rock to not see a representation of the map anywhere. There was one in Sleepless in Seattle for Pete’s sake. I found two National Geographic surveys that quiz young adults 18-24 on the subject. In 2002, 11 percent couldn’t find it, and in 2006, 6 percent couldn’t find it.
Now, before you start getting excited, here are some more depressing findings from the same 2006 survey.
• 33 percent can’t recognize that the direction from Japan to Australia is south
• 34 percent would go in the wrong direction in the event of an evacuation