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The big question: Are the geographic education needs of Wyoming students currently met? If the answer is no, then what can we do to change this situation?
In April 2015, the Wyoming State Department of Education was asked to assist in updating the original 2011 Geography Fact Sheet. The following is the state of geography in Wyoming in 2015:
There are no state required geography courses in Wyoming middle schools.
There are no state required geography courses in Wyoming high schools.
There are no state mandated K-12 student achievement tests that include items assessing knowledge of geography.
There are two AP Human Geography courses offered in the state. These two courses are offered at the same high school.
There are state approved social studies standards. Contained in these is a standard for the geographic themes. Benchmarks are included for the end of 2nd grade, 5th grade, 8th grade and 12th grade.
In 2012-2013, the standards were revised and adopted in 2014. Districts in Wyoming must fully implement the 2014 standards by the 2016-2017 school year.
Educators need to understand that:
Wyoming graduates increasingly travel and work in areas beyond Wyoming and interact with people, companies, and even governments around the world. The widespread use of computers, the Internet, and other information technology systems allows Wyomingites to experience the world as a more connected and active place. Economic globalization and job mobility require that Wyoming students understand the nature of foreign cultures who represent, on the one hand, a labor force, and, on the other, a market area for Wyoming products.
Geographic knowledge, skills, and technology provide a means to comprehend the rapidly changing physical and cultural environments of the world, and thus, prepare Wyoming students to be better global citizens.