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To Amend the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE, TABLE OF CONTENTS
(a) Short Title.—This Act may be cited as the "Advancement of Environmental Science and Field-Based Education Act of 2007"
(b) Table of Contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title.
Sec. 2. Table of contents.
Sec. 3. Findings and policy.
Sec. 4. Definitions
Sec. 5. References
Title I—Inclusion of environmental science standards in the science testing/assessment requirement
Sec. 101. Environmental science within the science testing/assessment requirement.
Title II—Establishment of environmental education grant programs
Sec. 201. Environmental Education grant program for teacher training.
Sec. 202. Environmental Education grant program to help build national capacity.
Title III— Eligibility of environmental education activities under existing grant and funding programs.
Sec. 301. Environmental Education as an Authorized Program in the Fund for the Improvement of Education.
Sec. 302. Environmental Education as an eligible activity for the existing pool of teacher training funds.
Title IV—General Provisions.
SEC. 401. Definitions.
SEC. 3. FINDINGS AND POLICY.
The Congress finds as follows:
(1) Environmental education is essential for:
(A) enhancing student learning and problem solving skills, especially in science,
(B) creating responsible and engaged citizens, and
(C) producing graduates who are prepared to address the challenges, adjustments, and opportunities that will be present in life and the workforce of the 21st century due to threats to human health, economical development, biological diversity, and national security arising from environmental degradation.
(2) Studies documenting the increasing indicators of nature-deficit disorder show that time spent out of the classroom for learning during the school day is critical to the intellectual, emotional, and physical health of children.
(3) Fewer and fewer students are becoming involved in important environmental education courses, class work, and field investigations as an unintended consequence of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.).
SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS
In this Act
(1) ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE– The term ‘Environmental Science’ is the science of the interactions and interrelationships between and within dynamic natural and human activity systems.
SEC. 5. REFERENCES.
Except as otherwise specifically provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or a repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.).
Title I—INCLUSION OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE STANDARDS IN THE SCIENCE TESTING/ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENT
SEC. 101. INCLUDING ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE IN THE SCIENCE STANDARD AND TESTING/ASSESSMENT REQUIREMENTS.
(a) Inclusion of Environmental Science Within Science Standards—Sec. 1111 (20 U.S.C. 6311) is amended by inserting after "science," in subsection (b) (1) (C) "with an environmental science component beginning school year 2008-2009".
(b) Inclusion of Environmental Science in Academic Assessment requirement for science— Sec. 1111 (20 U.S.C. 6311) is further amended
(1) In subsection (b) (3) (A) by inserting after science the first place such term appears "(including environmental science)".
(2) In subsection (b) (3) (C) (v) (II) by inserting after science "(including environmental science)".
Title II—ESTABLISHMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION GRANT PROGRAMS
SEC. 201. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION GRANT PROGRAM FOR TEACHER TRAINING.
Title II (20 U.S.C. 6601 et seq.) is amended by adding the following the part after Part D:
"Part E.—Environmental Education Grants
"SEC. 2501. PURPOSE.
"(a) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this part is to ensure the academic achievement of students in environmental learning by encouraging State educational agencies, institutions of higher education, local educational agencies, elementary schools, and secondary schools to participate in programs that –
" (1) improve the environmental content knowledge and field based pedagogical skill base of all science teachers including elementary teachers and other multidisciplinary teachers.
"(2) improve and upgrade the status and stature of environmental teaching by encouraging institutions of higher education to assume greater responsibility for improving environmental education teacher education through the establishment of a comprehensive, integrated system of recruiting, training, and advising environmental education teachers;
"(3) focus on the education of environmental education teachers as a career-long process that continuously stimulates teachers’ intellectual growth and upgrades teachers’ knowledge and skills;
"(4) develop more rigorous environmental education teacher training curricula that are aligned with challenging State and local academic content standards and with the standards expected for postsecondary study in teaching environmental education.
"SEC. 2502 GRANTS FOR ENHANCING EDUCATION THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
"(a) GRANTS AUTHORIZED.—
"(1) GRANTS TO PARTNERSHIPS.— The Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible partnerships to carry out the authorized activities described in subsection (c).
"(2) DURATION.—The Secretary shall award grants under this part for a period of 3 years.
"(3) SUPPLEMENT, NOT SUPPLANT.—Funds received under this part shall be used to supplement, and not supplant, funds that would otherwise be used for activities authorized under this part.
"(b) APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS.—
"(1) IN GENERAL.—Each eligible partnership desiring a grant or subgrant under this part shall submit an application to the State educational agency, at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the State educational agency may require.
"(2) CONTENTS.—Each application submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include—
"(A) the results of a comprehensive assessment of the teacher quality and professional development needs of any schools, local educational agencies, and State educational agencies that comprise the eligible partnership with respect to the teaching and learning of environmental content;
"(B) a description of how the activities to be carried out by the eligible partnership will be aligned with challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards in environmental science and will advance the teaching of interdisciplinary courses that integrate the study of natural, social and economic systems and that include strong field components;
"(C) an explanation of how the activities are expected to improve student academic achievement and strengthen the quality of environmental instruction;
"(D) a description of how the activities to be carried out by the eligible partnership will ensure that teachers are trained in the use of field-based, place-based and service learning to enable them to use the local environment and community to enhance student understanding, the relevance of instruction and academic achievement."
"(E) a description of—
"(i) how the eligible partnership will carry out the authorized activities described in subsection (c); and
"(ii) the eligible partnership’s evaluation and accountability plan described in subsection (e); and
"(F) a description of how the eligible partnership will continue the activities funded under this part after the original grant or subgrant period has expired.
"(c) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES.—An eligible partnership shall use funds provided under this part for one or more of the following activities related to elementary schools or secondary schools:
"(1) Creating opportunities for enhanced and ongoing professional development of environmental education teachers that improves the subject matter knowledge of such teachers.
"(2) Promoting strong teaching skills for environmental education teachers and teacher educators, including integrating reliable scientifically based research teaching methods and technology-based teaching methods into the curriculum.
"(3) Establishing and operating environmental education summer workshops or institutes, including followup training, for elementary school and secondary school environmental education teachers.
"(4) Recruiting environmental studies and science majors to teaching through the use of—
"(A) signing and performance incentives that are linked to activities proven effective in retaining teachers, for individuals with demonstrated professional experience in environmental education;
"(B) stipends provided to environmental teachers for certification through alternative routes;
"(C) scholarships for teachers to pursue advanced course work in environmental studies and science; and
"(D) other programs that the State educational agency determines to be effective in recruiting and retaining individuals with strong environmental studies and science backgrounds.
"(5) Developing or redesigning more rigorous environmental curricula that are aligned with challenging State and local academic content standards and that advance the teaching of interdisciplinary courses that integrate the study of natural, social and economic systems and that include strong field components.
"(6) Establishing distance learning programs for environmental education teachers using curricula that are innovative, content-based, and based on scientifically based research that is current as of the date of the program involved.
"(7) Designing programs to prepare an environmental education teacher at a school to provide professional development to other environmental education teachers at the school and to assist beginning and other teachers at the school, including (if applicable) a mechanism to integrate the teacher’s experiences from a summer workshop or institute into the provision of professional development and assistance.
"(8) Establishing and operating programs to bring environmental education teachers into contact with working professionals in environmental fields to expand such teachers’ subject matter knowledge of and research in environmental issues.
"(9) Designing programs to identify and develop exemplary environmental education teachers in the kindergarten through grade 12 classrooms.
"(10) Training environmental education teachers and developing programs to encourage underrepresented individuals in environmental careers to pursue postsecondary degrees in majors leading to such careers.
"(11) Strengthening and developing new environmental science and education degree programs within higher education teacher training programs.
"(12) Initiatives that seek to incorporate environmental education within teacher training program accreditation standards.
"(d) COORDINATION AND CONSULTATION.—
"(1) PARTNERSHIP GRANTS.—An eligible partnership receiving a grant under section 203 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 shall coordinate the use of such funds with any related activities carried out by such partnership with funds made available under this part.
"(e) EVALUATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN.—
"(1) IN GENERAL.—Each eligible partnership receiving a grant or subgrant under this part shall develop an evaluation and accountability plan for activities assisted under this part that includes rigorous objectives that measure the impact of activities funded under this part.
"(2) CONTENTS.—The plan developed pursuant to paragraph (1)—
"(A) shall include measurable objectives to increase the number of environmental education teachers who participate in content-based professional development activities;
"(B) shall include measurable objectives for improved student academic achievement on State environmental science assessments; and
"(C) may include objectives and measures for—
"(i) increased participation by students in advanced environmental courses ;
"(ii) increased percentages of elementary school teachers with academic majors or minors, or group majors or minors, in environmental studies or science; and
"(iii) increased percentages of secondary school classes in environmental studies and sciences taught respectively by teachers with academic majors in environmental studies and science.
"(f) REPORT.—Each eligible partnership receiving a grant or subgrant under this part shall report annually to the Secretary regarding the eligible partnership’s progress in meeting the objectives described in the accountability plan of the partnership under subsection (e).
"SEC. 2503 AUTHORIZATIONS AND APPROPRIATIONS.
"There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this part $100,000,000."
SEC. 202. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION GRANT PROGRAM FOR BUILDING AND STRENGTHENING STATE AND NATIONAL CAPACITY.
Title V, Part D (20 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.) is amended by adding the following subpart:
"Subpart 22. — ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION GRANT PROGRAM.
"SEC. 5621. PURPOSE AND GOALS.
"(a) The purposes of this subpart are the following:
"(1) To responsibly prepare children to understand and address major challenges facing the United States, such as clean energy, climate change, environmental health risks, and natural disaster resilience"
"(2) To support systemic education reform by strengthening environmental education as an integral part of the elementary school and secondary school curriculum;
"(3) To help ensure that all students meet challenging State academic content and achievement standards in environmental learning;
"(4) To support the national effort to enable all students to demonstrate competence in environmental learning
"(5) To leverage and expand private and public support for environmental education partnerships at national, State, and local levels,
"(6) To award grants and contracts to initiate, expand, and improve environmental education programs for all kindergarten through 12th grade students.
"(7) To reduce the risk of "nature-deficit disorder" in students by restoring and increasing field experiences as part of the regular school curriculum and schedule
"SEC. 5622. GRANT PROGRAM AUTHORIZED.
"The Secretary is authorized to award competitive one to three year grants to nonprofit organizations, state education authorities, local educational authorities, and institutions of higher education that have as their primary purpose the development of the institutional, financial, intellectual and policy resources needed to help the field of environmental education become more effective and widely practiced.
"SEC. 5623. USE OF FUNDS.
"(a)Assistance made available under this subpart may be used for any of the following:
"(1) Developing and implementing challenging State environmental education academic content standards, student academic achievement standards, and State curriculum frameworks.
"(2) Replicating or disseminating information about proven and tested model environmental education programs that
"(A) use the environment as an integrating theme or content throughout the curriculum, and/or
"(B) provide integrated, interdisciplinary instruction about natural, social and economic systems along with field experience.
"(3) Developing and implementing new policy approaches to advancing environmental education at the state and national level.
"(4) Conducting studies of national significance.
"(5) Executing projects that advance wide spread state and school district adoption and use of environmental education content standards, especially in textbook selection criteria.
"(6) Planning and initiating new State or national sources of environmental education funding such as environmental education trust funds, permanent funds with dedicated funding sources such as environmental fines, lotteries, state licenses or user fees.
"SEC. 5624. APPLICATIONS.
"(a). SUBMISSION - Each nonprofit organization, state education authority, local educational authority, and institution of higher education desiring a grant or contract under this subpart shall submit to the Secretary an application that contains a plan to initiate, expand, or improve environmental education programs in order to make progress toward meeting State standards for environmental learning.
"(b) PRIVATE SCHOOL AND HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENTS – An application for funds under this subpart may provide for the participation, in the activities funded under this subpart, of -
"(1) Students enrolled in private nonprofit elementary schools or secondary schools, and their parents and teachers; or
"(2) Home-schooled students, and their parents and teachers.
"SEC. 5625. REQUIREMENTS.
"(a) ANNUAL REPORT TO THE SECRETARY – In order to continue receiving funding after the first year of a multiyear grant or contract under this subpart, the administrator of the grant or contract for nonprofit organizations, state education authorities, local educational authorities, and institutions of higher education shall submit to the Secretary an annual report that –
"(1)Describes the activities conducted during the preceding year; and
"(2)Demonstrates that progress has been made in helping schools to meet State standards for environmental education.
"(b) ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES – Not more than 15 percent of the grant funds made available to a nonprofit organization, state education authority, local educational authority, and institution of higher education under this subpart for any fiscal year may be used for administrative expenses.
"SEC. 5626. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.
"(a) FEDERAL SHARE – The Federal share under this subpart may not exceed –
"(1) 90 percent of the total cost of a program for the first year for which the program receives assistance under this subpart; and
"(2) 75 percent of such cost for the second and each subsequent such year.
"(b) PROPORTIONALITY – To the extent practicable, the Secretary shall ensure that grants awarded under this subpart shall be equitably distributed among nonprofit organizations, state education authorities, local educational authorities, and institutions of higher education serving urban and rural areas.
"(c) REPORT TO CONGRESS – Not later than June 1, 2008, the secretary shall submit a report to Congress that –
"(1) Describes the programs assisted under this subpart;
"(2) Documents the success of such programs in improving national and state environmental education capacity; and
"(3) Makes such recommendations as the Secretary determines appropriate for the continuation and improvement of the programs assisted under this subpart.
"(d) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS – Amounts made available to the Secretary to carry out this subpart shall remain available until expended.
"SEC. 5627. SUPPLEMENT, NOT SUPPLANT.
"Funds made available under this subpart shall be used to supplement, and not supplant, any other Federal, State, or local funds available for environmental education activities."
Title III—ELIGBILITY OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION ACTIVITIES UNDER EXISTING GRANT AND FUNDING PROGRAMS
SEC. 301. ENSURING TEACHERS PARTICIPATE IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION TRAINING PROGRAMS.
(a) Ensuring Environmental Education is Included in Teacher Certification or Licensing Requirements—Section 2113 (20 U.S.C. 6613) is amended by inserting after "including" in subsection (c) (1) (C) "environmental and".
(b) Addition of New Strategies for Professional Development—Section 2113 (20 U.S.C. 6613) is further amended by inserting after "peer networks," in subsection (c) (10) "field-based, place-based and service learning,".
(c) Integration of Environmental Learning into the Curricula—Section 2113 (20 U.S.C. 6613) is further amended in subsection (c) by adding at the end the following:
"(19) Encouraging and supporting the training of teachers and administrators to effectively integrate environmental education, including training in field-based, place-based, and service learning into the curricula and instruction in order to improve teaching, decision-making, school improvement efforts, and accountability in all subjects."
(c) Use of Local Funds for Training on Effective Integration of Environmental Education—Section 2123 (20 U.S.C. 6623) is amended in subsection (a) (3) (B) by adding at the end the following:
"(vi) provide training on how to effectively integrate environmental learning, including training in field-based, place-based and service learning, into the curricula and instruction"
SEC. 302. INCLUSION OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AS AN AUTHORIZED PROGRAM IN THE FUND FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF EDUCATION.
Section 5411 (20 U.S.C. 7243) is amended in subsection (b) by adding at the end the following:
"(10) Activities and programs that advance environmental education, including interdisciplinary courses that integrate the study of natural, social and economic systems and the use of the environment as an integrating theme for a school curriculum, as well as field-based, place-based and service learning programs."
Title IV—GENERAL PROVISIONS
SEC. 401. DEFINITIONS
Section 9101 (20 USC 7801) is amended by inserting after subsection (18) the following:
"(19) Environmental Science— The term ‘Environmental Science’ is the science of the interactions and interrelationships between and within dynamic natural and human activity systems."