The status of geography education in Arizona

Ronald Dorn, Gale B. Ekiss, Michael Ostapuk, Cathy Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the United States, the state of Arizona ranks second in terms of growing population and close to last in per-pupil educational expenditures. Student population is dominated by middle income migrants from other states and low income migrants from Mexico. Local control of education dominates Arizona's educational politics, where curriculum decisions rest in 225 districts or 2300 schools. In this chaotic educational milieu, with support from National Geographic Education Foundation - Arizona's Department of Education - Arizona State University, the Arizona Geographic Alliance (AzGA) is the single focal point advocating K-12 geography education in the state. AzGA's accomplishments include: a membership of around 2700; training over 150 active teacher consultants (TCs) who now conduct more than 2600 lesson trainings a year; the adoption of new social studies standards with 1/4 being a geography strand; close working relationships with other social studies organisations in Arizona; hosting an annual GeoFest conference for hundreds of teachers; sponsoring a copyright free atlas of maps; and developing curriculum articulating geography standards with state-mandated testing in reading, writing, and mathematics. The key to AzGA's success rests in the hard work and vision of TCs and a central office supportive of TC professional development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-176
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Education
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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