The National Geographic Alliance Network: Measuring Influence of a Grassroots Network

Authors: Caroline McClure*, Texas State University
Topics: Geography Education, History of Geography
Keywords: Geography Education, Alliance Network, K-12 Geography Education
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Washington 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In 1986 the National Geographic Society created the National Geographic Network of Alliances for Geographic Education (Alliance Network) to improve the quality and quantity of geography education in U.S. K-12 schools. The presence of geography, as a course and/or a discipline at various levels of education, along with its own set of standards and multiple tests, provides proof of the difference the program has made in U.S. geography education. The question remains as to what influence the Alliance Network had on geography education, and whether these events and programs would have existed without it. This research synthesizes multiple sources of information to determine how much and the type of influence the program had on geography education as a discipline. A historical narrative of the history of the first 25 years of the Alliance Network at the National Geographic level was created from archival records and semi-structured, oral history style interviews. The interviews were conducted with key people in the discipline of geography education and the Alliance Network from 1986 through 2011 to contextualize and give insight into how the program shaped both geography as a K-12 discipline, and individual lives as well. This research sheds light into the history of the Alliance Network and the importance this type of program can have on geography education as the National Geographic Society changes its educational support system.

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