Obama’s Education Overhaul Major Opportunity For Environmental Literacy

Environmental Education Included in Administration’s Plan for Reform

03-17-2010 // Amanda Cooke

President Barack Obama issued a blueprint to overhaul American education and included environmental education as a part of that reform. The new version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) recommends guidelines that reward top schools, support teachers, and encourage underperforming schools to shape up. 

This new proposal provides a critical opportunity to improve classroom achievement through environmental learning, and prepare students for the new clean energy economy. Studies show that environmentally literate students perform better on standardized tests and are more likely to overcome classroom challenges.

Environmental education is a significant tool that the United States can use to achieve higher levels of learning, bring underperforming schools up to speed, and engage students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming.

The new blueprint, issued under Education Secretary Arne Duncan, acknowledges the important role of environmental education in our teaching infrastructure.  The education overhaul currently being considered by Congress must include the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman John Sarbanes (D - MD) and Senator Jack Reed (D - RI).  NCLI will ensure that children are environmentally literate when they graduate from school, preparing America’s future leaders for college and careers in the new clean energy economy.

“National Wildlife Federation commends President Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan for recognizing the important role of environmental education as part of a ‘well-rounded education’ in the overhaul of America’s education system.  Environmental education will help lead the country away from the economic and environmental crises we face, and provide an opportunity to get the United States back on track toward a competitive workforce and healthier environment,” said Kevin Coyle, Vice President of Education and Training at NWF. Follow Kevin at www.Twitter.com/ClimateGuru.

To read the March 15 press release, visit www.nwf.org/news.

To read more about our Eco-Schools USA program, visit www.ecoschoolsusa.org.

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