For the first time ever, environmental education and literacy are included as a part of a federal grants program to promote a “Well-Rounded Education”. The No Child Left Inside Act has been submitted as a stand-alone bill and included in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This Act would increase environmental literacy among elementary and secondary students by providing federal assistance for the development and implementation of state environmental literacy plans to help implement these experiences into schools and classrooms.
In preparation for this, almost every state in the U.S. is currently working on or has recently completed a state environmental literacy plan. Environmental education has been shown to have a beneficial effect on student achievement and engagement in a variety of school settings. Kentucky recently finalized a K-12 Environmental Literacy Plan. This plan was completed by a task force appointed by Commissioner Terry Holliday and headed up by the Kentucky Environmental Education Council and the Kentucky Department of Education. This plan will be presented to the Kentucky Department of Education on December 7, 2011.
Kentucky’s plan addresses seven distinct elements:
1. How will environmental literacy relate to content standards.
2. Description of the relationship of the plan to graduation requirements.
3. Professional development for teachers to improve their EE knowledge.
4. How student’s environmental literacy will be measured.
5. Description of how the plan will be implemented.
6. How the state education agency will encourage schools to “green” the buildings and grounds.
7. How the state education agency will encourage teachers and administrators to provide significant outdoor experiences for their students.
If you are a supporter of environmental education and increasing environmental literacy in Kentucky, please show your support for this plan by joining the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Alliance as an individual, school, organization, or business at www.thekela.com. Here you can also find updates on the plan and the status of federal legislation in Kentucky.