The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) announced the recent Senate passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind. The much-anticipated bill includes language that, for the first time, supports opportunities to provide students with environmental education and hands-on, field-based learning experiences. A companion bill overwhelmingly passed the House last week.
“The inclusion of environmental education language in the Every Student Succeeds Act signifies an important step forward for teachers and school systems who know what a rich and engaging context the local environment is for learning,” said Judy Braus, Executive Director of NAAEE. “We congratulate Congressional leaders for recognizing the role that environmental education can play in providing students with a well-rounded, 21st century education and preparing them for a lifetime of success.”
Under Title IV of the new bill, environmental education would be eligible for funding through grants to states for “programs and activities that support access to a well-rounded education.” Environmental literacy programs are now also included among eligible programs for funding through 21st Century Community Learning Center grants. Additionally, the inclusion of Title IV funds for hands-on, field-based, or service learning to enhance understanding of science, technology, engineering and math subjects provides a potential boost for environmental science education programs.
The gains for environmental education come as a result of years-long work by champions of the bipartisan No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Act, which sought to secure federal dollars to support states’ efforts to implement environmental literacy plans in K-12 public schools.
NAAEE serves as the backbone organization for the field of environmental education and is dedicated to advancing environmental literacy and civic engagement through the power of education. For more information, visit: naaee.net.