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Sci Tech    H4'ed 1/12/10

What Happened to Speling, Grammer and Geografie?

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In my youth (or what my kids refer to as medieval times), when I was a smartass kid attending a small-town New York elementary school, my class was required to take a geography course. I suppose our school board perceived that it would be a swell idea if the kids knew that our town wasn't located in Brazil.

So each day, our teacher, would hand out maps on which only the countries or states had been outlined. We were instructed to identify each country, and fill in the rivers, mountain ranges, and major cities with colored pencils. If it was a map of Africa, you drew in countries which you knew would be named something else by tomorrow.

It wasn't easy, but we learned a lot, except maybe for Howard Hinkleman, who could never figure out which end of the pencil one was supposed to use for writing. In any case, the rest of us came away knowing that Katmandu is not in Michigan.

I live in California now, and Geography is no longer taught in my kids' school district....nbsp;(Our school board decided that basic subjects would interfere with a child's "creativity.") As a result kids with excellent grades have no clue where anything is, except for the local Burger King.

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John Blumenthal has been a professional comedy writer for 25 years. A former associate editor and columnist at Playboy Magazine (following a short stint at Esquire), he's written 8 books and 2 produced movies. His films include "Short Time," (major (more...)
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