Thursday, October 24, 2013

SENATE Bill 200 Update

Submitted by Sen. Brewer forThe Massachusetts Geographic Allliance

Annual visits of EarthView at the State House
have helped to increase legislative interest
in geography education.
The Massachusetts Legislature is currently considering a no-cost bill to create a commission to evaluate the status of geography education in the Commonwealth. 

Geographic literacy is essential to our national security.  It is also vital to our understanding of international markets, global and local environmental problems, geotechnologies, transportation planning, and global cultural understanding. It is readily apparent that the United States – and even Massachusetts as an education leader – is falling behind in all of these areas.

For this reason, the Massachusetts Geography Alliance has worked with legislators of both parties and both chambers to introduce a Bill Relative to Geography Education. With 18 co-sponsors led by Sen. Stephen Brewer and Rep. Todd Smola (the Legislature’s only professional geographer), we are closer than we have ever been to genuine reform in geography education. During the final weeks of this legislative session, the MGA calls on supporters of geography to contact legislators to discuss the importance of geographic education as a pathway to greater global understanding.

The next steps in this process are:
  1. Joint Education Committee hearing on October 31 from 10 am to 1 pm Feel free to join us!
  2. Senate Committee on Ways & Means
  3. House Committee on Ways and Means
  4. Vote by Full Legislature
The Commission will include educators at all levels and employers in the Geotechnology (GIS/GPS/Satellite) and Green industries. The Commission will hold hearings statewide to:
  • Evaluate the status of geographic literacy in the Commonwealth
  • Compare this status to other states and countries
  • Evaluate the status of geography at each grade level, K-12
  • Evaluate the relationship between teacher preparation and the implementation of geography standards

Check the S200 information page to see whether your senator or representative is a bill sponsor. If so, please write or email your thanks. If not, please contact your local legislators to encourage them to consider this important, no-cost bill.