Friday, November 20, 2015

Geography on Nightside Radio -- Monday January 11, 9pm

Bridgewater State geographers Vernon Domingo and James Hayes-Bohanan have been invited back to the CBS radio program Nightside with Dan Rea to talk about geography education and our efforts to improve it in Massachusetts.
Broadcast throughout eastern U.S. and Canada on AM 1030.
This is a call-in show -- join us at (617) 254-1030!
We will be on-air from 9pm to 10pm on Monday, January 11, 2016.
FB users can get this must-hear radio on their events calendar as a reminder.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Beacon Hill Update

Massachusetts Geographic Alliance continues to advocate for geography education on Beacon Hill. The Joint Committee on Education is currently considering two bills -- a Senate and a House version that are very similar and likely to be consolidated if the bill moves forward. The Joint Committee has advanced similar bills in two previous sessions, but both times the bills failed to reach votes on the floor, as they were allowed to die in technical committees.
EarthView has been a big part of our advocacy work on Beacon Hill. Shown here during an April 2014 visit.
It will return on Earth Day, April 20, 2016.
The bill calls for three measures in support of geography education. One would simply be to declare a Geography Day for the state, acknowledging the importance of this field of study. The second would be to ensure that a geographer is part of the governance infrastructure that oversees social studies in the curriculum statewide. Third and most importantly, the bill would create a commission -- comprising educators, government officials, and geography-related professionals -- to make recommendations regarding the status of geography education in the Commonwealth. The commission would have 12 to 18 months to hold hearings around the state, to gather information from other states, and to bring real rigor to the process of deciding how to improve geographic literacy in Massachusetts. It has the potential to make Massachusetts a national leader in geography education.

In its two versions -- S291 and H491 -- the bill currently enjoys support from both major parties, both chambers, and all regions of the state. If your legislators is among the sponsors, please thank them.

The chief sponsors are Sen. Anne Gobi and Rep. Todd Smola, who happens to be the only professional geographer in the Legislature. Other sponsors include (in no particular order):
S291: Joan B. Lovely, Marc R. Pacheco, Claire D. Cronin, Jennifer E. Benson, Angelo L. D'Emilia, James M. Murphy, Louis L. Kafka, James J. O'Day, Keiko M. Orrall, William F. Galvin, Harriette L. Chandler, Thomas P. Kennedy, Tom Sannicandro
H491: Michael D. Brady, Louis L. Kafka, Angelo L. D'Emilia, James M. Murphy, Ellen Story, James J. O'Day, William C. Galvin, Keiko M. Orrall
In any case, please ask your legislator to contact members of the Joint Committee on Education in support of the bills, and consider contacting members directly as well.