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Where in the world

Taddie Hamilton just wanted kids to know something about the world they inhabit.

Margaret "Taddie" Hamilton '66 (MEd '82), didn't set out to change the system. She just believed that students should be able to read a map, talk intelligently about international populations and economies, and know that Moldova and Eritrea are countries, not herbs.

For more than 20 years, Hamilton, now a School of Education instructor, championed the importance of Texas high school students receiving four years of social studies instruction, including world geography. She would tell anyone who'd listen about her vision of high school students statewide who could identify key state, national and global locales, understand current events and recognize world leaders.

Her persistence paid off. As president of the Texas Council for the Social Studies 1989-1990, she guided the organization to adopt a resolution supporting her crusade, and for the first time in its history the council unanimously passed a motion supporting a statewide curricular change.

In response, the State Board of Education and the Legislature revised high school graduation requirements in the early 1990s to include four years of social studies instruction, including one year of world geography.

Her efforts were recognized this year when the National Council for Geographic Education awarded her the 2004 Distinguished Teacher Achievement Award for her role as head cheerleader for geography education in Texas.

"I've never really seen myself as a catalyst for change, but I guess when I think about it I did play a role," she admits. "It's a little heady -- the idea that this little bitty school teacher from North Texas can speak to and eventually persuade some of our state's most powerful people into agreeing that knowing about geography is good for all of us."

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