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Letter to the House supporting the No Child Left Inside Act and opposing two amendments to the bill




September 18, 2008

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to vote YES on passage of the No Child Left Inside Act (H.R. 3036), scheduled for floor debate today. We also urge you to OPPOSE TWO AMENDMENTS expected to be offered that would:

  • Cut funding for the National Environmental Education Act; and
  • Strike language regarding the new environmental education grant program administered by the Department of Education under the National Environmental Education Act.

Our country is facing a host of well-documented, complicated environmental challenges that will require our citizenry to be more educated than ever before about our personal and civic choices. At the same time, due to the No Child Left Behind Act, we have seen a narrowing of school curricula, as schools are forced to spend more and more learning time preparing for high stakes testing. This trend is most exaggerated in the schools of our poorest communities.

NEA strongly supports the rich, challenging, authentic experiences that comprise environmental education for all children. Furthermore, we submit that in order to reach this goal, teachers and schools systems must have greater authority, flexibility, and support to incorporate environmental education into core subject areas. Additionally, states in partnership with LEA's and other stakeholders must develop plans to ensure that all children are provided the learning experiences they need to become environmentally literate.

The No Child Left Inside Act would help address these challenges. Specifically, it would expand the National Environmental Education Act by providing grants to:

  • Ensure that teachers have the have the necessary knowledge and skills to teach environmental education; and
  • Enhance national, state, and local capacity for environmental education.

Grants would be available to nonprofit organizations, state educational agencies, local educational agencies, or institutions of higher education with expertise in environmental education.

In 2008, environmental literacy cannot be a privilege reserved for a few; it is a right and a responsibility that every one of us must undertake. The No Child Left Inside Act represents a critical step in ensuring environmental literacy for all. We urge your support for this important legislation.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy