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The State of Geography Education in America

Of nine areas listed as core academic subjects in the No Child Left Behind Act, geography is the only one that has no dedicated federal funding program. Because National Geographic is committed to building a geographically literate society, we are joining with educators and legislators in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to establish legislation that will fund efforts to improve geographic education across the United States.


Figure 1. Geography has never received a dedicated federal funding stream. Until this oversight is rectified, we will continue to jeopardize our global competitiveness and national security.

On February 14, 2013, the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act (TGIF) was introduced in the 113th Congress as Senate Bill 370 and House Resolution 822. In the House of Representatives, the bill was introduced by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) signing on as cosponsor. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) introduced the bill in the Senate, with Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) signing on as the lead Democratic cosponsor. TGIF was also introduced in the 109th, 110th, 111th, and 112th Congresses.

TGIF establishes a federal funding program to improve geography education, similar to programs for the other eight core academic subjects that were authorized in the No Child Left Behind Act. To read the official bill text and find out if your legislators have cosponsored TGIF, click here for TGIF in the House and click here for TGIF in the Senate. To find out who your legislators are, go to the Congressional Directory.

During “Hill Day” each Spring, the National Geographic Education Foundation and its Network of Alliances for Geographic Education meet with Members of Congress and their staff to advocate for TGIF. Learn more about Hill Day and the reasons to support TGIF.


Find out how you can support the National Geographic Education Foundation Policy Initiative by visiting our What You Can Do page.

Since 2007, the National Geographic Education Foundation recognizes champions of geography education with the Geography Legislator of the Year Award.



Policy Initiatives

The National Geographic Education Foundation works with educators and policymakers to improve geographic education across the United States.


Geography Education Advocacy Resources

Geography Education Advocacy Resources

Learn more about the importance of geography education.