Many schools have responded to the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law by sacrificing subjects such as environmental education to spend more time on subjects that are found on high-stakes reading and math tests. A 2008 study by the Center on Education Policy documented the problem. It found that many school districts have significantly reduced the amount of class time spent on such subjects as social studies and science. Many teachers and parents also report that field trips and time devoted to outdoor learning activities have been cut to give more time to tested subjects.
The No Child Left Inside Act would help address this problem by giving new incentives and support to school systems to provide environmental education. The Act also recognizes that high-quality environmental education often requires students to use math, reading, science and writing skills as they pursue engaging activities.
Expanded environmental education will also help boost academic achievement. A number of studies have found that students who take part in environmentally themed lessons do better in science and other subjects.