"No Child Left Inside Act" Essential for Creating Next Generation of Innovators

Bi-partisan legislation provides comprehensive framework for advancing environmental education in schools

07-17-2013 // Aislinn Maestas
Kids Learning Outside

Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD), Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) have introduced the No Child Left Inside Act, legislation to assist states in the development and implementation of stronger environmental literacy programs for K-12 students.

Research shows that most children do not receive basic education to help them understand and cope with the many environmental issues they will face in their adult lives around water and air quality, toxic substances, community development, home, workplace and personal health. Moreover, they are not learning about the importance of forests, farmland, wetlands, rivers, bays, estuaries and groundwater, to species and human survival. The No Child Left Inside Act would, for the first time ever, provide a comprehensive framework for advancing environmental education in schools and position American students to compete in the global economy of the 21st century.

“Today’s kids and youth are growing up without an understanding of where the energy they use, the food they eat, the fiber in their homes and clothing, or the water they drink comes from,” said Kevin Coyle, Vice President for Education and Training at NWF. “The No Child Left Inside Act will improve our children’s education and prepare them for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

The No Child Left Inside Act would amend the National Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to provide incentives for states to prepare and implement State-wide Environmental Literacy Plans for mapping out how state education departments and local school districts can make sure students attain the knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) intensive careers.

Environmental literacy programs are ideal for boosting a young person’s overall life skills. Studies have shown that hands on environmental education programs have measurably positive impacts on the mastery of social and physical science concepts, cooperation and conflict resolution skills, self-esteem, positive environmental behavior, problem-solving, motivation to learn, and classroom behavior.

“This legislation will help the American K-12 education system prepare students for living in a rapidly shifting world and pursuing careers where ‘going green’ will be a core career skill,” said Coyle. “National Wildlife Federation applauds Congressmen Sarbanes and Fitzpatrick and Senators Reed and Kirk for their leadership in introducing the No Child Left Inside Act this week.”

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