Join with AAG to Support Geography Education
President Obama Signs New K-12 Law, Includes Key Geography Provisions
On Dec. 10, 2015, AAG Executive Doug Richardson notified members and others President Obama's signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law. (John Wertman, the AAG's Senior Program Manager for Government Relations, captured the event in this photo.)
Geography Still an Important Part of K-12 Education Bill
On Dec. 2, 2015, AAG Executive Doug Richardson wrote a letter to members and others about progress towards ESEA reauthorization. In recent months, the House and Senate each approved separate versions of ESEA reauthorization legislation, and two weeks ago, senior members from the two houses met to reconcile differences between the bills. The resulting "conference report" was released this week.
Progress Towards ESEA Reauthorization
We have been working hard to encourage Senators to include dedicated funding for geography as part of any new education law and have had some success to this point. Geography is again included as a core academic subject within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) bill and there is a new funding program that awards competitive grants "to promote innovative history, civic, and geography instruction, learning strategies, and professional development activities and programs." Although we are pleased with the progress we have achieved to date, we will continue to work hard to encourage Senators to include a geography-specific authorization as part of the bill.
To help continue this forward-moving momentum, AAG members are encouraged to contact their elected officials to express their views on issues of importance to geography.
ESEA Reauthorization Heating Up: AAG Letter to Senator Alexander
On January 30, 2015, AAG Executive Director Doug Richardson sent a letter to Senator Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, assering the importance of federal support for K-12 geography education. The letter references the resolution described below.
THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTION developed by the Association of American Geographers (AAG) proposes the advancement of geography education with three major recommendations. This resolution has been endorsed by U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense, many governors, major national organizations and corporations, and dozens of state geographic alliances and other groups. See the following page for a partial listing of these endorsers. We strongly urge adoption of the key goals of this resolution.
AAG Resolution Supporting K–12 Geography Education
WHEREAS, Congress is scheduled to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly known as “No Child Left Behind,” for the first time in almost a decade;
WHEREAS, geography is one of ten “core academic subjects” identified in the ESEA for which specific funding allocations and implementing programs are proposed to further its teaching at the K‐12 level;
WHEREAS, geography education is central to preparing students to be informed citizens of the United States and economically competitive in a rapidly globalizing world;
WHEREAS, geotechnologies, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), GPS, photogrammetry, surveying, mapping, and remote sensing, have been identified by the U.S. Department of Labor as one of the three most important emerging and evolving fields, with job opportunities growing and diversifying rapidly, creating substantial workforce growth as these technologies prove their value in ever more areas;
WHEREAS, employers in all sectors, including private companies, government agencies, and non‐governmental organizations (NGOs) have indicated that there is a pressing need for more students graduating today with the geographic science and geospatial skills needed to support a rapidly growing field;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHERS:
Urges the Obama Administration to include geography and geospatial education in its Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and ESEA Blueprint for Reform proposals;
Urges Congress to include authorizations and appropriations for geography education consistent with other core academic subjects for K‐12, as part of a reauthorized ESEA; and
Urges Congress to enhance geography teacher training by passing legislation such as the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act.