Leaving No Child, or Adult, Inside

Improving environmental literacy for children and adults

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is often touted as one of President Bush's few legislative successes, but many in the educational community believe the law needs vast improvement. According to the environmental nonprofit organization the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the federal enactment of NCLB in 2002 meant narrowly focusing on core subject areas and 'reducing the amount of environmental education taking place in K-12 classrooms.'
As Utne.com has reported, children's advocates and environmentalists have been working to get more environmental education in and outside of the classroom. The movement is gaining traction on the legislative front, with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation pushing for a federal No Child Left Inside amendment to improve the NCBL act. If passed, the amendment would increase funding for state environmental literacy plans and provide more flexibility and training for teachers to address crucial environmental issues.

Though children's education may help environmental literacy in the future, current trends indicate that adult education programs are desperately needed, too. A 2005 report by the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation ?(NEETF) (PDF) found that, '45 million Americans think the ocean is a source of fresh water.' Many Americans realize that environmental issues are important, but the NEETF found that only 12 percent could 'pass a basic quiz on awareness of energy topics.' So while educating children on environmental issues is important, neglecting adults might minimize the initiatvies' effects. According to the NEETF, 'Effective environmental education is not a panacea for all of society's problems, but it is a responsibility that we owe both ourselves and future generations.'

Go there >> No Child Left Inside

Go there too >> Environmental Literacy in America (PDF)

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