When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed.Or they could have looked at the globe in their classroom.
The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. …Yup, that’s his job title. Here’s the press release announcing his hiring:
Mercator’s distortions affect continents as well as nations. For example, South America is made to look about the same size as Europe, when in fact it is almost twice as large, and Greenland looks roughly the size of Africa when it is actually about 14 times smaller.
Colin Rose has been appointed Assistant Superintendent of Opportunity and Achievement Gaps for the Boston Public Schools. In his new role, Rose will attack cultural and structural barriers and promote culturally sustaining practices enabling traditionally marginalized students to engage in rigorous curriculums and pedagogy in Boston’s schools, thus creating opportunity and access they need to close performance gaps.Back to The Guardian:
The district has 125 schools and 57,000 students, 86% of whom are non-white, with the largest groups being Latino and black. After changing the maps, Rose said, educators plan to look at other subjects and shift away from presenting white history as the dominant perspective….
The respective merits of the Mercator and the Peters maps have long been debated. A spirited discussion about their implications even featured on an episode of the West Wing, in which characters argued for the Peters map to be used in US public schools and told the administration the Mercator projection had “fostered European imperialist attitudes for centuries”, creating an “ethical bias” for “western civilization” against the developing world.
Curriculum chiefs consulted map experts at the Boston public library and were directed to ODT, a company in Amherst, Massachusetts, that is the exclusive North American publisher of Peters projection maps.Can’t get much more multicultural than Amherst, MA.