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Geo-Ed Policy

Why Geography Is Important

From crisis mapping to city planning, geographers provide critical insight and skills that are valued by employers and public sector policy-makers.


  • contribute to making choices about the best locations for businesses and services.
  • manage natural resources including water, minerals, and natural gas.
  • understand patterns of energy production and consumption.
  • address human and natural threats to American safety and security.

Having dedicated K-12 geography courses sets the foundation for students to acquire the skills and abilities to use maps, imagery, and geospatial technologies to investigate significant spatial and environmental issues.

For more information also watch Geospatial Revolution and visit the Grosvenor Center for Why Geography Is Important booklets.

Without geography, you're nowhere!


Texas’ High School Graduation Plans and the Future of Social Studies - pdf

Over the last several months, the Texas Alliance has spoken with numerous school district administrators and teachers. The focus of our discussions has been how best to implement the education reforms outlined in House Bill 5. The Texas Alliance, in consultation with key social studies educators and leaders, developed a consolidated list of recommendations and rationales.

  • The Texas Alliance recommends that school districts require either the “Foundation with Endorsements” or the “Distinguished” graduation plans.
  • With regard to social studies specifically, the Texas Alliance recommends that four courses be taken in sequence: World Geography, World History, US History, and Government/Economics.


  • Adopting either the “Foundation with Endorsements” or the “Distinguished” graduation plans maintains a rigorous high school curriculum.
  • Both the “Foundation with Endorsements” and “Distinguished” graduation plans provide a path to college while developing critical career skills for 21st century jobs.
  • Four years of social studies provides students the opportunity to become world class citizens.
  • Social studies provides students an opportunity to practice 21st century skills.
  • Studying World Geography teaches students how to understand past, present, and future world issues from multiple perspectives.
  • World Geography provides students the foundation for skills needed in the geospatial industry which generates global annual revenues of between $150-$270 billion (for comparison – global video games industry $25 billion; global security services $140 billion).*
  • Career training related to geography is most appropriate through a geographic information systems (GIS) course within the STEM cluster.
  • Vertical alignment is needed in order to promote a systematic approach for student success.
  • The TEKS were laid out for World Geography to be the foundation course that leads into World History and promotes a solid understanding of the United States and the World today.
  • Success on the 11th grade US History EOC will depend on an academically mature student with knowledge and skills from 9th grade World Geography and 10th grade World History courses.
  • Maintaining the existing social studies sequence keeps horizontal alignment among campuses and districts and facilitates professional development.
  • World Geography and World History complement each other in developing the critical thinking and writing skills demanded by today’s global economy.


House Bill 5, http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB5
Texas Education Agency HB 5 Overview, http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769806149

The Texas Alliance for Geographic Education is surveying campuses on plans to implement education reforms outlined in House Bill 5. Please complete the survey at http://bit.ly/1cpYHSv.

TAGE would like to thank the following advisors for developing this statement: Dr. Jeff Lash, Mary Curtis, Pat Hardy, Marci Smith-Deal, Linda Hammon, Mary Lynn Johnson, Dr. Rosemary Morrow, and Dr. Jo Beth Oestreich.

*Source: Oxera Consulting Studies, http://www.oxera.com/Oxera/media/Oxera/downloads/reports/What-is-the-economic-impact-of-Geo-services_1.pdf

Updated 01.2014

TEA Accepting State Review Panel Nominations for Proclamation 2015 - includes Social Studies

Deadline is January 24

The Texas Education Agency is now accepting nominations to the state review panels that will evaluate instructional materials (including Social Studies and World Geography) submitted for adoption under Proclamation 2015. TAGE strongly encourages its members to apply for this opportunity. Learn more


State Board of Education Meeting & Public Comment

January 28-31, Austin

The SBOE is meeting for the second reading and final adoption of the HB 5 Graduation Requirements. The public comment period began December 20 and continues until the January SBOE meeting.
Graduation Requirements
Public Comment

Updated 9.13.2013

TEA has a site dedicated to HB 5. This site provides HB 5 text, a general overview, a side-by-side comparison of the graduation requirements, implementation and transition information, and individual documents prepared form the SBOE, including Social Studies Discussion Document (PDF, 752KB).


Update 8.22.2013
The State Board of Education is seeking input from educators and community members as it begins to restructure graduation requirements to address recent changes in state law.  
The board will hold a public hearing Sept. 17 in room 1-104 of the Travis State Office Building in Austin to receive input from educators and others about the changing graduation requirements. "We encourage you to submit specific suggestions as to the course offerings that will give school districts the flexibility mandated in HB5 that is intended to meet all students' post secondary goals," said Barbara Cargill, chair of the State Board of Education. After the public hearing, Texas Education Agency staff will craft a proposed rule dealing with graduation requirements.
Look for a special email with TAGE's comments on this upcoming meeting.


Update 6.10.2013

Governor Perry signed HB 5. The high school foundation plan on requires three social studies credits, one credit is either world geography or world history. It also added a third option to satisfy the credit with language "the State Board of Education shall adopt criteria to allow a student to comply with curriculum requirements for the world geography or world history credit under Subsection (b-1)(4) by successfully completing a combined world history and world geography course developed by the State Board of Education." TAGE has concerns about the combined course and will work with our TCs to develop a response. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Update 6.5.2013

On May 27, HB 5 was approved by the House and the Senate and sent to Governor Perry. State Board of Education member Pat Hardy has developed a letter providing information related to HB5.

If you would like to express your opinion on this letter, please contact the following.

Dan.branch@house.state.tx.us Representative Branch

Candince.woodruff@house.state.tx.us Education contact for Representative Branch

Office 512-463-0367

Jimmie.aycock@house.state.tx.us Chair of the House Education Committee


Office -512-463-0684


Governors office, 512-463-2000-this is a general number, ask for education or pending bills contact person.

Update 5.9.13

Today the Senate amendments version of HB 5 was posted. The foundation plan requires three social studies credits with one credit in United States history, at least one-half credit in government and at least one-half credit in economics, and one credit in world geography or world history.


The bill also proposes a combined world geography/world history course for the third social studies credit.

Update 4.30.13

The latest version of House Bill 5 no longer specifically includes world geography or world history in the foundation plan or in any endorsements. The foundation plan now requires one credit of US history, one-half credit in government, and one-half credit in economics, and one other unspecified credit. The number of endorsements has been reduced to only include STEM, Business & Industry, and Arts & Humanities and deletes Public Service and Multidisciplinary Studies, and the bill continues to propose five EOC exams. HB 5 has been placed on the Senate Intent Calendar with no specific date set at this time. bill text 


House Bill 2836 removes the 8th grade social studies assessment. bill text

Update 4.25.13

The latest version of House Bill 5 does not include world geography or world history in the foundation plan or in any endorsements. The number of endorsements has been reduced to only include STEM, Business & Industry, and Arts & Humanities and deletes Public Service and Multidisciplinary Studies, and the bill continues to propose five EOC exams. HB 5 has been placed on the Senate Intent Calendar with no specific date set at this time.

Update 4.18.2013
As the Texas Legislature continues, House Bill 5 has become the omnibus education legislation which proposes changes to the EOC testing and the 4x4 graduation plan. On March 27, it overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives. HB 5 proposes a new Foundation plan to include three social studies credits, instead of the existing four, requiring one credit in United States history, at least one-half credit in government and at least one-half credit in economics, and one credit in world geography or world history. At this time HB 5 also proposes five endorsements (STEM, Business & Industry, Public Service, Arts & Humanities, and Multidisciplinary Studies) and the State Board of Education will develop the curriculum requirements for each endorsement, along with participation of educators and business and industry representatives.

On Tuesday, April 16, there was a public hearing for HB 5 with the Senate Education Committee. As of today there is no update. Please continue to monitor the calendar for HB 5 and Senate Bill 3 and stay involved.

Dear TAGE supporters,

Recent legislation, specifically Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 5 has created a sense of urgency on our part. SB 3 proposes to create an option for students to either take world geography or world history for the Foundation High School Program (4x4). HB 5 identifies world geography as a required component for the Foundation High School program.

TAGE supports the inclusion of world geography as a requirement for high school graduation. I would like to include a few figures for you to consider regarding the importance of students taking world geography at the high school level.

Two studies, the Boston Consulting Group and Oxera Consulting Studies revealed results of the importance of continued investment in geographic education. Last year the geospatial industry generated $73 billion in revenue in the United States. Additionally, the studies estimate this industry to grow between 25-30% per year. If our state is looking to generate revenue and job growth opportunities, geographic education is a key component to see these two areas expand.

TAGE encourages you to contact your representatives by email or phone call in support of keeping world geography as a required course in the Foundation High School Program. Below is a link to access your state representatives. The 83rd Legislature meets for 140 days. The first 60 days are devoted to preparing and filing bills for consideration in various committees, and no voting can take place on these bills. March 11th is the first opportunity for elected officials to vote on education and other bills impacting the future of our children's education in Texas. Please take the time to voice your opinion before it's too late.

Thank you for your support of geographic literacy in our great State of Texas.

Dr. Jo Beth Oestreich

Coordinator, Texas Alliance for Geographic Education