Questionable Geography: The District’s Distribution of an Incorrect Map


Asher Boiskin

The world map on pages 138 and 139 of the 2022-2023 East planner.

If you open up your 2022-2023 Cherry Hill High School East student planner to the last ten pages, you’ll notice what some might consider mistakes. They’re not new; the 2021-2022 student planner had them as well.

For starters, if you flip to page 136 in the 2021-2022 East planner, you’ll notice that though Joseph Biden is recognized as the 46th President of The United States, the photo labeled “President & Vice President” shows Donald Trump shaking Michael Pence’s hand.

To the right of that photo, another photo labeled “Supreme Court,” shows Ruth Bader Ginsburg, despite her passing in 2020 and the fact that the planner is meant for the 2021-2022 school year. Furthermore, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was replaced by Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump nominated in 2020, not in 2021 or 2022. These changes are later reflected in the 2022-2023 school planner, though it is unfortunate that it took more than two years to account for them.

Just two pages over, on pages 138 and 139, you’ll notice some map mistakes that have not yet been changed. For example, on these pages, both planners label Eswatini as Swaziland, though the country renamed itself in 2018. You’ll also notice in Africa that Western Sahara is accompanied by parentheses containing an “Occupied by Morocco” label, though United States policy dictates that Western Sahara is not occupied, but part of Morocco.

Additionally, in Italy, you’ll find that Vatican City, a United Nations recognized country and the center of Catholicism, is not labeled, though San Marino, a country of only 61 square kilometers in area, is. If you look at North Macedonia, it’s mislabeled as Macedonia, and you’ll find that above North Macedonia, Kosovo, a United States recognized country, is not labeled.

There are several other countries not labeled on the map too, including Seychelles, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Nauru. These mistakes should be fixed to reflect United States foreign policy and show every country recognized by the United Nations.

There are some other notable mistakes on the map, which could be considered controversial.

For example, under the Falkland Islands, there are two pairs of parentheses: one states that the Falkland Islands belong to the United Kingdom while the other states that it has been claimed by the United Kingdom and Argentina. The Falkland Islands are internationally recognized as a territorial possession of the United Kingdom.

The absence of Taiwan’s label is another controversial mistake on the map, in addition to the inclusion of China’s famous nine-dash line. It is also important to note that between India and Pakistan, the map labels “Kashmir”, and does so in the color white, to distinguish that it is currently in dispute between the two countries. 

It’s safe to assume that the “mistakes” can be rectified, as the Cherry Hill School District or the East administration must possess the ability to request or approve the planner’s contents, considering the blank-ink stamp on its first 23 pages: “303281 CherryHillHighEast HANDBOOK-SDI 5X8 (06-08-2022)”. The date at the end of the stamp suggests that East orders the planners in advance of an upcoming school year. The updated East Calendar and Student Government Association pages of the planner, which are changed each year, further suggest that East decides annually what information the planners contain.

Alongside East, however, the company producing the planners makes changes to their product annually: the goals, facts, and vocabulary definitions placed throughout the planning space in the middle of the book vary from last year’s planner.

The planner, which the district sanctions for production, potentially means that our school administrators may not be paying attention to mistakes that could be seen as politically charged  – mistakes that are distributed to thousands of students and teachers.

Ultimately, the district and East’s administration should better fact-check the planner’s contents. It’s worrisome to think that the school district might reorder the planner one year, without noticing that the company producing them has included inappropriate or even more wildly incorrect information than they currently do. 

Eastside Online reached out to Grade Level Principal Edwards for comment via email. At the time of publication, Edwards has not responded.