We Americans on the whole are woefully ignorant of world geography - even the best educated of us. If asked to name the provinces of Canada or identify Uganda on a map or tell which countries border Laos, I'd flunk the test.
Even so, I was surprised by how many people warned me about traveling to "Africa" (referring to it as though it were a country rather than a continent) certain I would contract Ebola immediately on landing.
The outbreak of Ebola is in West Africa; Ethiopia is in East Africa. The center of the Ebola outbreak is closer to Paris than to Addis Abeba. Inter-country transportation is difficult.
In respect to Africa's size, compare this old Mercator projection in which Greenland and the entire African continent are roughly the same size:
to the Homolosine projection that tries to keep land mass right sized:
Kind a hard to even find Greenland in this map.
As much as I believe students should be able to find information and solve problems and construct meaning, I also believe that they need a foundational knowledge (cultural literacy?), that grounds their knowledge making.
John Wooden once said that the two most important words in the English language are love and balance. A good education is all about balance.