Saturday, October 1, 2011
Most First Parish members know that we have two "official" geographers in the congregation -- Vernon Domingo and I are both professors in the Department of Geography at Bridgewater State University. But geography infuses much of what we do in the church, whether it is learning about the interdependent web of life, valuing the religious traditions of other cultures, or educating our community about social justice at the local, national, and global scales.
It is in this context, then, that we think many in First Parish will be interested in learning more about efforts to ensure that more Massachusetts students learn geography at all grade levels. Currently, U.S. geography is taught in the fourth grade and the rest of the world in the seventh. Some students are lucky enough to have a geographer as a teacher, and to get more than the minimum, but the state does not require it. In fact, Massachusetts does not even ALLOW geographers to become certified at the high school level, though it once did.
We therefore invite our fellow parishioners of all ages to have a look at what we are doing to promote geography education, in partnership with our creative and dedicated colleagues in the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance. Please check out the MASSGEO blog for more information about advocacy and professional development, and have a look at what we do on a face-to-face level with middle school students every Friday on our EarthView blog.