I was at my son's Back-to-School night last night, and while sitting in his biology classroom I couldn't help but wonder about what our education requirements tell our children about our priorities as a society.
In Maryland, high school students must pass biology and the Biology High School Assessment Test in order to graduate. Now don't get me wrong, biology is an important science. But with the energy and environmental challenges this generation will need to address, I personally think they'll contribute to society more with an understanding of environmental issues than with an understanding of osmosis. (Yes, I know, I've terribly oversimplified the matter.)
In a 2003 report, the National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education noted that "in the coming decades, the public will more frequently be called upon to understand complex environmental issues, assess risk, evaluate proposed environmental plans and understand how individual decisions affect the environment at local and global scales. Creating a scientifically informed citizenry requires a concerted, systematic approach to environmental education..."
No one is advocating a change in Maryland's education policy. However, the national No Child Left Inside Coalition, of which CBF is a member, is advocating for environmental education to be included in reauthorizations of the No Child Left Behind Act, along with resources necessary to implement such a change. (Want more info? Go here.)
"Okay," you say, "so what do you want me to do about it?"
The United States House of Representatives will be voting on the No Child Left Inside Act of 2008 this upcoming Tuesday or Wednesday. If you believe that it is important for every student to learn about their connection to nature and their impact on the environment, send an e-mail now and urge them to vote "Yes" on H.R. 3036.
The Coalition has generated strong bipartisan support for this legislation thanks to the efforts of individuals like you. Check and see if your representative is actively supporting NCLI and, if so, send them a thank you with a request for continued support.