Talking Points (March 16, 2007)
- NCLB is a good start towards moving the nation’s public schools in the right direction.
- Changes proposed to the reauthorized NCLB would provide teachers and schools systems with greater authority, flexibility, and incentive to incorporate environmental education into core subjects and increase funding for environmental education.
- These changes are necessary because NCLB’s emphasis on high-stakes testing in reading and math has compelled teachers to reduce or eliminate time spent on effective, high quality environmental education programs and related instruction.
- Before NCLB, use of classroom and field-based environmental education programs to teach core subject material was on the rise.
- Narrowing the curriculum in such a way has a negative impact on student achievement and threatens the quality of our nation’s future workforce, global economic competitiveness, and the protection of our precious natural resources.
- Environmental education provides obvious benefits in preparing our nation’s youth as responsible citizens who will value and protect America’s resources and landscapes.
- What is less obvious is the profound impact that environmental education has on student achievement. Research shows that environmental education has a measurably positive impact not only on student achievement in science, but also in reading, math, and social studies.
- Business leaders across the country recognize the increasing importance of environmental literacy and innovation to profitability and long-term success. A 21st century workforce needs the knowledge and skill to understand and address complex environmental issues.
- Incorporating environmental content into the NCLB assessment program will ensure that related instruction is given priority. At the same time, providing increased funding for environmental programs will allow schools to pursue instruction that engages students, supports achievement, and addresses the basic goals of NCLB.