Together with their legislative sponsors, the No Child Left Inside Coalition today cheered President Obama's budget as a historic moment, noting that environmental literacy has been included in the U.S. Department of Education budget for the very first time.
"This budget takes an important step toward boosting environmental education in the classroom and giving more kids the opportunity to get out and learn about the natural world around them," said Senator Jack Reed (RI). "Environmental education can help raise student achievement in other core subjects like math and science. This is a smart investment in our children's future and the future of our planet."
"The President's budget proposal is a terrific first step for environmental education," said Congressman John Sarbanes, author of the No Child Left Inside House legislation. "I look forward to working with the Administration to more fully incorporate environmental education into school curriculums across the country."
President Obama and Secretary Duncan have made innovation and student achievement a major platform of the Obama Administration, and as a result have included environmental literacy in a new program. The proposed budget includes new funding of $1 billion for Effective Teaching and Learning for a Complete Education program designed to improve instruction to support college- and career-readiness standards, in part through the use of technology to deliver high-quality content. Among those programs eligible for funding are those deemed important to a "Well-Rounded Education," including environmental literacy.
"Advancing the environmental literacy of our students is key to addressing today's increasingly complex environmental and related economic, social, natural resource, and energy issues," said Don Baugh, Director of the No Child Left Inside Coalition. "It will not only better prepare students for college and the 21st Century workforce, but help to combat childhood obesity and related health problems by getting kids outside to learn about the natural world. On behalf of our entire 1,500 member Coalition, I commend the President and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for recognizing the critical role that environmental education plays in preparing our students for the green economy."
"The Department of Education took a historic step for the future economy by including environmental literacy under it's 'Well-Rounded Education' budget initiative for fiscal year 2011," said Kevin Coyle, Vice President for Education and Training at the National Wildlife Federation-a founding member of the Coalition. "Having an environmentally literate citizenry is key to increasing interest in the STEM fields and keeping America competitive in the global, clean energy economy."
Representing 50 million individuals nation-wide, the No Child Left Inside Coalition has become the nation's leading voice for environmental education, speaking for a diverse group of Americans from throughout the United States who believe young people should receive a meaningful and robust education about their natural world.