WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The last Global Geographic Literacy Survey, assessing the geographic knowledge of 18-24-year-olds in nine different countries -- Canada, France, Mexico, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Germany and the United States -- was, at best, a disappointment. It found, for example, that only 17 percent of young Americans could locate Afghanistan on a map; 29 percent could not correctly identify the Pacific Ocean; and 11 percent were unable to find the continental United States.
If high-school geography classrooms around the United States are anything like that run by "teacher" Jay Bennish, at Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado, the results are understandable. Though Bennish is charged by his school board and principal to instruct his young charges in geography, he chooses instead to use his pedagogical perch to preach hatred -- of Israel, George W. Bush and the United States.
After the State of the Union Address in January, Bennish told his students that the president's speech "sounds a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler used to say." He went on to accuse Mr. Bush of "threatening the whole planet," while describing the United States as "the most violent nation on the planet" and a country seeking to "keep the world divided."
"My job as a teacher is to challenge students to think critically about issues that are affecting our world and our society," Bennish said after his anti-American diatribe was exposed by one of his students. Apparently, "critical thinking" is more highly valued in the classroom than say, teaching the location of the Mississippi River to students who couldn't find the Mississippi River if they fell into it.
In New Jersey, "teacher" Joseph Kyle of the Parsippany-Troy Hills school district decided to put the president on the stand and hold a "war crimes trial." A student played Bush while others played his defense team. A group of five teachers sat as the "international court of justice." The president was charged with "crimes against civilian populations," as well as "inhumane treatment of prisoners." Not only did the teacher's union approve of this, it also said Kyle was completely justified.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.