While browsing through my online newsletter from the American Horticulture Society I saw an article from the No Child Left Inside Coalition (NCLIC) which supports legislation for getting kids outside. This includes training teachers in the environmental education like social studies and the sciences, subjects which often get shoved by the wayside in order to concentrate on more tested subjects like reading and math.
Currently the NCLIC’s main goal is to pass the No Children Left Behind Act, a federal act which would help fund various environmental education initiatives. At this point, the House of Representitives has approved the bill. It will be interesting to see how this shapes up.
The NCLIC has an open letter to President-elect Barack Obama. It states:
Dear President-elect Obama:
As you set your incoming administration’s agenda for creating a new green economy, protecting the environment, and improving the education and health of our nation’s youth, the No Child Left Inside Coalition – representing more than 40 million Americans – is confident you can make progress in all these arenas by embracing the No Child Left Inside Act (NCLI).
The environmental and energy challenges facing our nation and planet are enormous and we will soon hand them off to the next generations. We must be sure that these young people have the knowledge and tools necessary to overcome those challenges. And your goal of developing “green” jobs will depend on having a workforce that understands the environment.
The House of Representatives took a significant step forward to achieve these goals this September by passing the No Child Left Inside Act with a strong bipartisan vote of 293 to 109. We were pleased that Rep. George Miller, the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, strongly supported this legislation. We would like to build on this momentum and look forward to working with your administration to make enactment a reality in the next Congress.
The NCLI Act, sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes and Senator Jack Reed, would provide new funding and support for environmental education. It would greatly enhance our ability to teach kids about their natural world. Teachers would be trained, the best programs would be expanded and states would have an incentive to develop environmental literacy plans to ensure that all students graduate from high school with a basic understanding of the environment and our natural resources.
Our strong Coalition represents more than 40 million people, including parents, teachers, environmentalists, conservationists, business leaders and public health experts. We have
banded together to support the NCLI Act because it will enhance student achievement, help children learn the critical skills for a green economy and give America’s students a greater understanding of how climate change will impact their lives in the years ahead.
We also believe that by getting many more children engaged in outdoors, hands-on learning we will, over time, greatly expand the science, technology, engineering and mathematics academic pipeline that is a critical part of your education agenda. Getting more children outside to learn about their environment will also help to address attention deficit disorder and childhood obesity.
We can make enormous progress in protecting the environment, building a stronger energy policy, and improving education and health care by enacting the No Child Left Inside Act. We congratulate you on your election and we look forward to working with you to meet the environmental challenges of our time.
The No Child Left Inside Coalition, comprising more than 890 organizations, in all 50 states, representing more than 40 million people.
The website also lists the member organizations by state. I was surprised to see several local organizations listed, not just national organizations.