House Approves Legislation to Strengthen Environmental Education for America's Schools

Posted on by Karina

Today, the House passed the No Child Left Inside Act, H.R. 3036. One of the greatest challenges facing current and future generations is to build a more sustainable, energy-efficient world. By teaching students about the role of the environment as an important national resource, we can prepare them to take on critical issues — energy conservation, air pollution, climate change, wildlife protection — and become better stewards of the earth.

Rep. John Sarbanes, the author of the legislation:

Rep. Lynn Woolsey:

Rep. Yvette Clarke:

Rep. Rob Andrews:

From the Education and Labor Committee:

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed legislation to strengthen environmental education experiences for schoolchildren both inside and outside of the nation's classrooms.

By a bipartisan vote of 293 to 109, the House approved the No Child Left Inside Act, H.R. 3036, legislation authored by U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD). The legislation would improve existing environmental education programs by providing states with resources to train teachers, develop research based programs and create environmental literacy plans to ensure that students understand the role of the environment as a natural resource.

“Environmental education gives our children the tools they need to create a more sustainable, energy-efficient future for this country,” said U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and author of the original “. By teaching our children about the environment, this legislation will help encourage them to protect it — and prepare them for the green jobs of tomorrow. This is the right thing to do for our students, our economy, and our planet.”

“This initiative will give children opportunities outside the classroom to learn how to become our next environmental leaders,” said U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, (D-MD). “Through the passage of this legislation, we've made real progress in ensuring that environmental education becomes a priority in our schools. I am so grateful to the coalition for all of its hard work.”

Recent studies show that environmental education plays a role in helping boost student achievement. For example, according to the National Wildlife Federation, environmental education can help improve students' motivation to learn, reduce disciplinary problems in the classroom, build students' critical thinking and social skills, and bolster students' performance in other areas of the curriculum, including math and science.

Specifically, H.R. 3036 will enable schools and states to enhance and expand environmental education programs by extending the National Environmental Education Act of 1990, which provides funding for teacher training and support programs. H.R. 3036 will also help states develop and implement academic standards for environmental education, and encourage states and schools to use outdoor environmental activities as part of their academic curricula.

The bill encourages mid-level environmental professionals to become teachers of environmental education which will increase the number of qualified, expert teachers in classrooms.

In addition, the legislation will create a competitive grant program to help non-profits, state and local education agencies, and institutions of higher education create and strengthen state environmental literacy plans.

The No Child Left Inside Act is supported by a broad coalition of environmental and education organizations, including the American Recreation Coalition, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, League of Conservation Voters, National Council for Science and the Environment, National Education Association, National Parks Conservation Association, National Science Teachers Association, National Wildlife Federation, North American Association of Environmental Education, Outdoor Industry Association, Wilderness Education Association, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the YMCA of the USA.

For more information on H.R. 3036, click here.

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