Sorry for the lack of postings recently – I have been leading a group for the last week and a half and am just now getting back on track.
This post is mostly for readers in the United States, as the Committee on Labor and Education will be voting soon on whether to include provisions for the No Child Left Inside Act in the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. If it passes, this will be the first time ever that environmental literacy will be included in the national education budget.
You can find out much more about the Act and how to take action here.
I apologize for the short notice on this, but if you would like to send a message of support for the Act to the Committee, it needs to be received by the end of Friday, March 26. You can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have included, below, the text of the letter I sent, as well as the template sent out by the coalition that has been working to develop the NCLI Act. Please send even a short e-mail if you have the time!
Dear Committee on Education and Labor,
I am writing this letter in support of the No Child Left Inside Act. I urge you to embed the provisions of the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Act, as introduced, into the reauthorized ESEA.
I have spent nearly 15 years working in a variety of educational settings in the United States, teaching elementary through graduate students. I can tell you that there has never been a more important time for American students to be well-versed in the environmental challenges facing our world, and for them to be learning the critical-thinking skills that will enable them to confront and solve those challenges.
I am now working in the field of environmental conservation in Uganda. From my perspective living in Africa I can see that many of the solutions to climate change, deforestation and the destruction of wildlife habitat will come from the United States, as we have the financial, academic and business resources to develop and implement them. The green economy is already expanding by leaps and bounds, and if the U.S. is to stay in a position of world leadership, it will be critical for our students to receive training in sustainability.
Beyond the obvious health reasons for getting kids outside and active at this time of rising obesity, it is important that children of all ages are given the opportunity to have frequent-enough interactions with nature that they develop a level of comfort in, and connection to, the natural world. School is one of the few places that we can guarantee that opportunity equally across demographics.
Please make sure we don’t fail in this chance to prepare our students to protect our planet while driving the green economy forward.
Mark D. Jordahl, Director
Template from NCLI Coalition:
Members of the Committee on Education and Labor:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We are pleased that the Committee’s website highlights the No Child Left Inside Act as one of four key pieces of legislation pending before the Committee for consideration as part of the reauthorization. We urge you to embed the provisions of the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Act, as introduced, into the reauthorized ESEA.
[Personalize with information about your organization/state/region here]
The No Child Left Inside Act is critical to providing our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be ready for college and the tremendous career opportunities developing as America transitions to a green economy. Enhancing students’ environmental literacy is a proven way to expand the academic pipeline for STEM subjects and is increasingly seen as an innovative way to give students the sense of wonder and excitement so essential to encouraging scientific inquiry. Environmental education has been shown to improve student achievement across core subject areas and increase engagement in learning. What’s more, getting kids outside and active promotes a healthy lifestyle that is essential to fighting obesity and reducing symptoms associated with attention deficit disorder, depression, and stress.
We are grateful that the Committee approved a modified version of the NCLI Act during the 110thCongress and are hopeful that you will include the provisions of the current NCLI bill in ESEA this year. Leaving it out of ESEA would be a missed opportunity to improve education while helping to systemically address other national priorities of a strengthened economy, a competitive workforce, and a healthier nation.
YOUR NAME and ORGANIZATION