Schools can receive money specifically for environmental education! On October 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance on Title IV Part A of the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). The language included environmental education as an allowable activity and put a spotlight on Project Learning Tree(PLT)’s curriculum and the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE)’s Guideline for Excellence. This is a huge win for environmental education and a major boost for the Superintendents’ Environmental Education Collaborative. Read some excerpts from the guidance below:
U.S. Department of Education Non-Regulatory Guidance from ESSA issued October 21, 2016
Environmental education (ESEA section 4107(a)(3)(G)). An LEA may use funds for activities in environmental education, which is generally understood as instruction that encourages students to develop knowledge, intellectual skills, attitudes, experiences, and motivation to make and act upon responsible environmental decisions. Environmental education is generally understood to be a multi-disciplinary field that integrates disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, ecology, earth science, atmospheric science, mathematics, and geography.
SPOTLIGHT: Many schools across the nation provide environmental education classes for students. Project Learning Tree® (PLT) is one example of an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. PLT provides educators with supplementary curriculum materials, professional development, and resources to integrate environmental education into lesson plans for all grades and subject areas and to use the outdoors to engage students in learning about the world around them. GreenSchools, PLT’s service-learning program, inspires students to apply STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to create greener and healthier schools by reducing energy and water use, improving their school site, recycling, and other projects that also save schools money. Program evaluations demonstrate that PLT’s Green Schools program contributes positively to important outcomes in student learning and engagement including students’ presentation, writing, planning, problem solving, technology, leadership and teamwork skills. https://www.plt.org/
Resources and Tools: Well-Rounded Educational Opportunities
Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence: K-12 Learning (2010) (http://www.gufsee.org/grades-K- 8/excellence-in-environmental-education-guidelines-for-learning), a guide published by the North American Association for Environmental Education, offers a vision of environmental education and promotes progress toward sustaining a healthy environment and quality of life. The guidelines provide learners, parents, educators, home schoolers, administrators, policy makers, and the public a set of common, voluntary guidelines for environmental education.