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Md. Stops Short of Making Environmental Ed. a Graduation Requirement

The Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously yesterday to make environmental education a part of every student's education, but it did not embrace, at least for now, making it a graduation requirement, according to a story in the Baltimore Sun.

The plan as put forward, with backing from Gov. Martin O'Malley and state Superintendent Nancy Grasmick, would have made environmental education a new high school graduation requirement for all students.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group that was a strong proponent of that effort, called the board's action a "partial victory."

Under the new regulation, high school students will not need to take any additional courses, but environmental education will be integrated into existing courses, such as biology, the Sun explains. Every five years, school districts will have to report to the state on whether they have environmental subject matter in courses that every student must take.

When I first reported on this plan in July, I was told by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that, if fully adopted, it would represent the first time a state had added a high school graduation requirement focused on environmental literacy.

According to the Sun, Maryland's board Chairman James H. DeGraffenreidt told the State Department of Education staff after the graduation requirement was defeated in a split vote that more work had to be done to improve the language in the proposed regulation.

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