ESEA Passage Paves Way for Next Generation of America’s Conservation Leaders
Today, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as Every Student Succeeds Act, was passed by Congress and is en route to the President’s desk for signature. The Act is the federal government’s most significant education legislation, providing some $40 billion a year to support K-12 education in the United States.
"This is an important breakthrough in making environmental and hands-on science education opportunities available to every American student. It will help millions of students across our nation learn about our natural resources firsthand, while improving their performance in science, technology, engineering, and math," said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. "Acknowledgement and thanks goes to all members of the House and Senate education committees especially Senators Alexander and Murray, as well as Representatives Kline and Scott, the committee chairs and ranking members. A special note of appreciation is deserved by Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland who were so very helpful in securing a place for environmental education in the legislation."
Replacing the No Child Left Behind Act that has been in place since 2001, the Every Student Succeeds Act includes new provisions that support student learning about the environment, conservation and field studies:
- Congress supports the basic idea that environmental literacy and conservation education should be included as a part of a well-rounded education for any student.
- Congress encourages the enrichment of After School programming with environmental and conservation education, and
- Congress supports more Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education highlighting the desirability of field study and service learning both of which are solid engagements of environmental and conservation education approaches.