Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Renewed Effort

Senator Brewer, Representative Smola (the Legislature's only geographer), and their staff members continue to work hard on legislation to create a Commission to investigate the status of the discipline in Massachusetts schools and teacher-preparation programs.

The bill was favorably reported from the Joint Committee on Education and from the Senate Ways & Means Committee, but as with most legislation, it did not make it to the floor for a vote during its first session.

MGA leaders have again worked closely with these legislators and their staff members, and the bill has been reintroduced. We are not taking anything for granted, but we are optimistic that the bill will pass during this session, perhaps in the first half of this year. If it does, the Commission will begin holding public hearings on the status of this important discipline at several locations around the state.

As of this writing, the legislation has more than a dozen sponsors, with the possibility of more being added by February 2. (Use "Find a Legislator" for more details about these individuals or to find your own legislators.)

Sen. Stephen Brewer, D-Barre
Sen. John Keenan, D-Salem
Sen. Harriette Chandler, D-Worcester

Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge
Sen. Katherine M. Clark, D-Melrose
Sen. Michael R. Knapik, R-Westfield
Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton

Rep. Smola, R-Palmer
Rep. James Murphy, D-Weymouth
Rep. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer
Rep. Christine Canavan, D-Brockton
Rep. Louis Kafka, D-Stoughton
Rep. William Galvin, D-Canton
Rep. Jennifer Benson, D-Lunenburg
Rep. Angelo D’Emilia, R-Bridgewater
Rep. James O’Day, D-West Boylston

Rep. Tom Sannicandro, D- Ashland
Rep. Denise Andrews, D-Orange

This is a no-cost, bipartisan bill which can lead to profound improvements in science education and global education in the Commonwealth, by restoring and expanding the role of geography in primary and secondary schools.

Members of the legislature and the Patrick administration will be invited to a special geography program at the State House when EarthView returns to Nurse's Hall on Monday, May 6. Mark your calendars!

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