Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Geography is an important study

My name is Herb Thompson. I’m the co-coordinator of the Geographic Alliance In Nevada, a retired CCSD middle school geography teacher and a 35-year resident of Las Vegas. On Feb. 26, I will join educators from around the country in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to pass the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act to ensure that America’s children are equipped to work and live in an increasingly globalized world.

Many Americans do not realize that despite geography being named a “core academic subject” in federal legislation, it is the only core subject to have never received dedicated federal funding. Geography is about patterns and connections, and most importantly it’s the only spatial social science — the one that best helps us understand human-environment interactions.

Unfortunately CCSD, like most school districts around the country, has only a token regard for geography and the other social studies disciplines of history, government/civics and economics. CCSD designates a single administrative staff position to all the social studies disciplines currently taught to its more than 300,000 students. Even less dedicated than CCSD is the Nevada Department of Education, which only devotes half of a single staff member’s work time to the coordination of all four social studies disciplines for every student in Nevada.

TGIF would establish grant programs to expand geographic literacy among American students and improve K-12 teacher preparation. I urge all Nevadans and every American to visit www.SpeakUpForGeography.org and use the online tool to contact their members of Congress, asking them to support the passage and funding of the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act.

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