Congressman John Sarbanes (Democrat – Maryland) re-introduced the No Child Left Inside Act earlier this month, while Senators Jack Reed (Democrat – Rhode Island) and Mark Kirk (Republican – Illinois) brought the bill back to the Senate.
The bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress, but never became law.
What Is No Child Left Inside?
In addition to being a wonderful name, The No Child Left Inside Coalition is a national coalition of over 2000 business, health, youth, faith, recreational, environmental, and educational groups representing over 50 million Americans. It was formed in 2007 to alert Congress and the public to the need for our schools to devote more resources and attention to environmental education.
This legislation was born from their efforts. No Child Left Inside (NCLI) would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind) to include environmental education for the first time. The legislation would provide new funding for environmental education, particularly to develop rigorous standards, train teachers and to develop state environmental literacy plans. It also proposes giving states that develop such environmental literacy plans access to additional funds.
Environmental Education Facing A National Crisis
“Environmental education is facing a national crisis,” Sarbanes said, in a statement on his website. “Many schools are being forced to scale back or eliminate environmental education programs. The No Child Left Inside Act seeks to give schools and teachers the resources and flexibility to spark the imagination of our nation’s children.”
“By creating an environmental education grant program and providing teacher training for environmental education across the curriculum, we can prepare our children for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics jobs that will be the cornerstone of the United States’ 21st century economy,” he added. “Research shows that hands-on, outdoor environmental education has a measurably positive impact not only on student achievement in science, but also in reading, math, and social studies.”
It is interesting that Sarbanes represents Maryland, where the Board of Education passed the first-ever environmental literacy graduation requirement last month.
If you still need convincing how important this bill is, check out this great video.
Photo Credit: Wellspring CS via Creative Commons