US: The Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) endorsed a resolution urging the Obama Administration to take action to improve K-12 education in geography and geospatial skills. COGO endorsed a slightly modified version of a similar resolution proposed by the Association of American Geographers, a COGO founding member.
The primary reason for COGO’s endorsement of this resolution now is that Congress is scheduled to reauthorise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly known as “No Child Left Behind,” for the first time in almost a decade, but no mention is made in the reauthorisation regarding geography education. COGO urges others to contact their congressional delegations to support changes to the ESEA.
The resolution endorsed by COGO observes:
– 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.
– Geography education is central to preparing students to be informed citizens of the United States and economically competitive in a rapidly globalizing world.
– Geotechnologies, such as GIS, GPS, photogrammetry, surveying, mapping and remote sensing, have been identified by the US 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.
– Employers in all sectors, including private companies, government agencies and non-governmental organisations (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.
Hence, COGO urges the Obama Administration to include geography and geospatial education in its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and ESEA blueprint for reform proposals. It urges congress to include authorisations and appropriations for geography education consistent with other core academic subjects for K-12, as part of a reauthorised ESEA. It also urges congress to enhance geography teacher training by passing legislation such as the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act (H.R. 1240/S. 749).