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Wow! Great site and great insight about federal funding for Geography education in K-12. Be sure to mention to your students that Geography is alive and well in post-secondary education and as a Geographer, I can say that it is full of career potential as the number of available positions for Geographers has outpaced the number of qualified candidates.

Chris Shearer

Dear Joan: Always nice to see someone else out there with a real passion for the subject! I agree that our students must have a strong background in the Social Sciences. To crib from Senator Ted Kennedy, “the strength of our democracy and our standing in the world also depend on children having a basic understanding of the nation’s past and how to engage in our democracy.” (As the son of an artist—and a struggling musician myself—I could not agree more with the need for Arts education. By the way, see the excellent AmericansfortheArts.org Web site.)

I do want to clarify that the geography education community is certainly not trying to dismantle the Social Studies or eat its lunch; what National Geographic, and others, are advocating for is simply that the U.S. Congress step up to the plate to add funding under the No Child Left Behind Act for Geography—the only one of the named “core” disciplines under that specific bill to have no dedicated source of support. Oh, I owe you a citation for geography in the Improving America’s Schools Act. It’s in Section 2103, under the definition of “Core Subject Areas,” which are listed as Mathematics, Science, English, Civics and government, Foreign languages, Arts, Geography, History, and Economics.

Thanks for your posting. Best, Chris

Chris Shearer

Dear Sue: I like your point about High School. In fact, the College Board has added an AP course and exam in "Human Geography," which is the fastest growing Advanced Placement course they have. This year they expect more than 40,000 kids to take the exam. Pretty good growth in just 7 years--it started in 2001. PS--A High School year in Geography *is* required in Texas and some 340,000 students take the course annually. Don't mess with Texas! Thanks for your comment! Best, Chris.

Chris Shearer

Dear Hunter: "Wow" is right. If you want to say that to your Members of Congress check out the "Notify Your Lawmakers" button on the My Wonderful World homepage. Thanks for your comment. If you have time, tell a friend about the campaign. Best, Chris.


Geography AND civics and government AND economics AND history of places other than the U.S. are missing from Mr. Shearer's list. Every one of these subject areas within the social sciences is important. (Yes, I know that social sciences and the humanities battle over history: it's both.) Arts education (visual arts, music, theatre, dance, etc.) is missing too, and it too is vital. Is geography truly the ONLY one of these subjects without federal education funding? These additional subjects, by the way, the remaining ones of the nine that Mr. Shearer refers to, come from "Goals 2000: Educate America Act," sec. 102 (3), which is referred to in the "Improving America's Schools Act." If there's a place in the latter where geography is mentioned by name, please post that clarification. Although it wouldn't help arts education, it would help the rest if the lobbying efforts of the geography establishment, including NGS, would quit elbowing the rest of the social sciences out of the way. When was the last time the geometry establishment tried to act like something other than part of mathematics? This atomized politicking has proven counterproductive for years and ill-serves the country and its students.

Sue Streisguth

When you watch Jay Leno ask geography questions of college kids and young adults you can see the need for stronger emphasis on teaching geography in the schools. And, geography should not be an elective, but a core course at least one year of senior high school. Elementary school should continue to raise students curiosity's about other countries and their cultures and how they live.



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