Environmental Education: Our Kids Deserve Better

How much do our children know about conserving water, helping endangered species, or making sure natural spaces remain protected? Currently, there are no national standards for environmental education, and the high stakes testing required under the No Child Left Behind Act forces many teachers to focus almost exclusively on math and English.

But there is a solution. The No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI) is a bi-partisan bill that would assist states in creating stronger environmental literacy programs for K-12 students. Teachers need to be prepared to teach students about the environment, both in and out of the classroom. NCLI programs would boost academic motivation and performance while teaching students more about endangered species conservation, ocean protection, climate change, animal welfare, water resources, energy independence, recycling, sustainability, and more.

NCLI already has the support of more than 2,000 organizations, representing some 50 millions Americans. Please tell your senators and representative to revive the NCLI, for our children and the future environmental health of this country.
I am writing today to ask for your support for the No Child Left Inside Act.

Promoting environmental awareness among our nation's schoolchildren has never been more important. We are grappling as a country and as a global community with increasing economic instability, and today's environmental issues play no small part in these increasingly dangerous causes and effects. We need to educate a future generation to think critically and holistically about environmental issues as they navigate the challenges they will inherit. To this end, we need to implement rigorous environmental education standards so that every child, no matter where they live, knows how to better care for our Earth.

The good news is that many states have had K-12 environmental education requirements for years. These programs teach children to understand what John Muir meant when he famously opined, "Tug on anything at all and you'll find it connected to everything else in the universe." Unfortunately, these valuable programs have been increasingly crowded out by the stringent federal math and reading requirements of No Child Left Behind.

The No Child Left Inside Act of 2011 (NCLI), promises to change everything. This landmark legislation would build on current environmental education programs by giving states additional resources to develop curriculum and standards while providing extra training for teachers. Learning more about our world's urgent environmental problems both inside and outside the classroom would boost motivation and performance while encouraging students to think critically on a wide range of topics such as food production, water resources, wildlife conservation, recycling, and sustainability.

In order to help today's students make the best decisions in the future, we need to encourage greater environmental literacy in our country's schools. NCLI already has the support of more than 2,000 organizations, representing some 50 millions Americans. Please help revive the NCLI, for our children and the future environmental health of this country.
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