Environmental and Education Leaders Call on Congress to Pass the No Child Left Inside Act

Sierra Club, Audubon, National Wildlife Federation & Chesapeake Bay Foundation Joined by National Education Association in Support of Bill

EDNEWS.org October 24, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) and key education and environmental organizations called on Congress to pass the No Child Left Inside Act, a new $100 million a year initiative to strengthen environmental education programs in America's classrooms.

These organizations are key members of the No Child Left InsideSM Coalition, which has brought together 115 organizations representing more than 16 million people to advocate for stronger environmental education.

Leaders of the organizations issued the following statement today:

"As a nation, we must do a better job teaching our children about their environment and the challenges it faces. We know how important it is to get children outside, experiencing and learning about their natural world, and the No Child Left Inside Act will give schools the tools they need to make that happen.

"We know from experience that environmental education engages and stimulates students, but many schools lack the resources or support they need to offer high-quality instruction in this critical subject. It's time for Congress to fix that and make sure all of our young people have the opportunity to take part in good environmental lessons." The statement is signed by Carl Pope, executive director, Sierra Club; Larry Schweiger, president, National Wildlife Federation; John Flicker, president, National Audubon Society; Reg Weaver, president, National Education Association.; and William C. Baker, president, Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

"I am pleased that the No Child Left Inside Act has the strong backing of so many environmental and education leaders.  These organizations have worked hard to preserve and protect our natural heritage and teach our kids about the importance of their environment," said Senator Jack Reed.  "The No Child Left Inside Act will help reconnect more kids with nature and restore environmental education in America's classrooms."

"This initiative aims to give children opportunities outside the classroom to learn how to become our next environmental leaders," said Congressman John Sarbanes. "We've made real progress in ensuring that environmental education will become a priority in our schools.  We are so grateful to the coalition for all of its hard work, but we can't stop now."

The No Child Left Inside Act would authorize $500 million over five years in federal funding for states to train their teachers in the field of environmental education; support outdoor environmental education programs for children; and develop model environmental education curriculum.  To receive funding, states must develop environmental literacy plans to make sure students have a solid understanding of our planet and its precious natural resources.

The Coalition is working to incorporate provisions of the No Child Left Inside Act into the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is the lead Senate sponsor of the bill.  Congressman John Sarbanes, a member of the Education and Labor Committee and the Natural Resources Committee is the lead House sponsor.  The bill enjoys bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.