1. Title 1 – Incorporate environmental science in the science standards and assessment requirements (Section 1111)
Students cannot meet environmental science standards due to the intense focus of teachers and schools on meeting AYP in math and reading. This effect is greatly magnified in under-performing schools. At the same time, our nation faces unprecedented environmental challenges related to human health, energy use, job development, and the conservation of natural resources.
Incorporating environmental science into state science standards and assessments will give states a clear signal that environmental science is important and should be included in the daily curriculum in our nation’s k-12 schools. As a result, the number of states with environmental science standards should increase from the current number of less than 10 to virtually all the states, which should increase the amount of environmental science taking place. This in turn should also bring national attention to the level of environmental science literacy in k-12 public school students in a measurable way.
At the same time, this approach of incorporating environmental science into the science standards and assessments will not add the burden of an additional assessment on states.
2. Title 11 - Create a separate EE grant program for teacher training (new Secs 2501-3)
The Title 1 change will prompt new classes and programs in environmental science to be created. This in turn will require additional science teachers who can teach environmental science. Creating a separate EE grant program for teacher training which is modeled on the Math/Science Partnerships will insure that a sufficient number of qualified teachers are available to teach these courses and programs while strengthening existing environmental education teacher training programs.
3. Title 11 – Identify EE as an eligible activity for the existing pool of teacher training funds (Sections 2113 and 2123)
(Same rational as the above).
4. Title V – Create a separate EE grant program to help build national and state capacity (new Sections 5621-5627)
Environmental education as a field is relatively young compared to other fields such as math, history, biology and art. It has yet to develop the national and state level “infrastructure” needed to support teachers and administrators. This program will provide funds for states to develop, improve and advance EE standards. It will also support the development of new state-level private/public funding sources, dissemination of proven EE models, and studies of national significance
5. Title V – Include EE as an Authorized Program in the Fund for the Improvement of Education (Section 5411)
The Fund for the Improvement of Education is an important source of funding for states and school superintendents, and is only available for specified activities. Including environmental education as an authorized use for these funds will enable more funding to flow to environmental education programs.