There is no reason to teach the state capitals

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I had to memorize "Carson City, Nevada" multiple times.  Las Vegas didn't get a mention.

I had to memorize “Carson City, Nevada” multiple times. Las Vegas didn’t get a mention.

I’m a political science student with an obsession for maps, and even I couldn’t get 60% of the state capitals on the first try.  I’ve had to memorize them in grade school–more than once!–yet I haven’t retained them.   That’s because they’re unhelpful trivia.

Given the sliver of class time devoted to geography, you can’t justify teaching non-Pennsylvanian children “Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania” while ignoring Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

I understand curriculum designers want to mention all fifty states, so as not to offend those who live in worthless ones.  But if you still decide that memorizing lists of cities is the best way to learn, why not make it the largest or most culturally influential city in each state?  Kids would still have to learn about Boise, but at least they’ll be hearing about a megalopolis like Los Angeles before Sacramento.

Soaring beyond the politically feasible into the realm of the fantastic, what if we just taught the fifty biggest cities in the country?  The world?


Written by pinkocrat

December 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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