Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Grijalva: environmental education key to earth day

Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson

WASHINGTON -- Yesterday, on the 38th anniversary of Earth Day, US Rep. Raul M. Grijalva joined with other members from the Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education to conduct a field hearing on the legislation, H.R. 3036, the No Child Left Inside Act. Rep. Grijalva is an original co-sponsor of the bill.

The hearing, “Environmental Education: Teaching Our Children to Preserve Our Future.” Focused on how integrating environmental education throughout a curriculum, particularly when such education includes direct experience with nature, improves student achievement and public health and is critical to economic development.

Rep. Grijalva released the following statement:

“Earth Day gives the country an opportunity to focus on the key challenges facing us in preserving our planet. We have witnessed a trend of the environment being treated with neglect and disdain. We must change this trend and encourage our youth to embrace public parks public lands and national forests. We must build on their environment literacy making the future stewards of the environment and constituents of public lands.

“Our environmental legacy will depend on our children, and we must begin now to prepare children for the stewardship and leadership of our environment. No Child Left Behind is rightly criticized for singularly focusing on testing. A quality education requires more; environmental education is one of the areas that is needed in our schools.

“Now, more than ever, we need to address the issues of climate change, public lands, protections, ecosystem conservation, clean air, clean water, renewable energy and the overall public health.

“H.R. 3036 addresses the essential question of what legacy we leave for our children. Do we continue to deny the reality of our fragile environment or do we begin a national commitment to educate and empower a new generation of students who will be aware of the issues we face and ready to provide leadership and stewardship for our environment? I am proud to co-sponsor HR 3036 as a tool for the future and an educational opportunity for all children.”

H.R. 3036, the No Child Left Inside Act, which would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill would integrate environmental education into our public schools through a 100 million grant program over 5 years. ESEA currently does not include an environmental education component.

Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) in 1970 to focus attention on the environment and how individuals and communities can work to protect it.

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