With concerns about energy prices and global warming now at that forefront of the national consciousness, interest in environmental education in schools is growing dramatically, according to USA Today.
Among the signs of the times: A bill is now making its way through Congress that would give states funding to develop green curricula and increase teacher training in environmental areas. And the National Environmental Education Foundation, which works with schools and other organizations to improve environmental literacy, has seen its partner list increase fivefold over the past two years.
“A lot of people are thinking and talking about environmental topics lately and teachers want to respond to what’s happening today,” said NEEF senior director Karen Heys.
Even as lawmakers work on that environmental-education bill, however, some experts say the main obstacle to greener learning is none other than the No Child Left Behind Act. That law’s testing provisions, they say, have forced many schools to focus intensively on reading and math, to the exclusion of less traditional subjects.
Even so, many teachers appear to be working green activities into their lessons, from recycling projects to solar-powered model car races to video screenings on global warming.
The goal, says a 6th grade science teacher at Washington's Sidwell Friends School, is to get students to “come to understand the many different applications of green technologies and the role, hopefully, that sustainability will play in their lives.”