A U.S. Senate Committee yesterday took an historic step in support of environmental education by approving an amendment that will make it easier for states to obtain federal funding for outdoor education.
Now the proposed $500 million federal education grants program, proposed by Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, will have to be approved by the whole Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
“This is an historic day for proponents of environmental literacy,” said Don Baugh, Vice President for Education Programs at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Director of the No Child Left Inside Coalition, which has been leading the charge nationally for expanded outdoor learning.
The vote “is a critical milestone in the effort to ensure that today’s students are academically successful and have the skills and knowledge needed to take on the challenges and opportunities of a clean energy economy,” Baugh said.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, voted 15 to 7 to endorse changes to federal education legislation called the No Child Left Behind Act. One of the changes will create a competitive grants program that could be used not only for environmental education, but also for other subjects including American history, civics, arts, geography, foreign languages and financial literacy.
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By Tom Pelton
Chesapeake Bay Foundation