On September 18, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the No Child Left Inside Act, H.R. 3036. The legislation was authored by U.S. Representative John Sarbanes of Maryland and passed with a bipartisan vote of 293 to 109. The NCLI Act was initiated partially because of the consequences of the No Child Left Behind Act, which narrowed the focus of the schools on standardized testing and left children with little or no outdoor or environmental experiences.1
This act, H.R. 3036, will help states build and put into practice academic standards for education on the environment and will encourage schools to use environmental outdoor activities as part of their curricula. It will also provide states with the resources to train teachers and to develop research programs to enable students to more closely understand the role of the environment as a natural resource.
This act extends the scope of the National Environmental Education Act of 1990, and directs the Secretary of Education to award Environmental Education Professional Development Grants to the states for the development of environmental education and to teach interdisciplinary courses.2
Studies have shown that environmental education improves a student’s motivation to learn, build critical thinking, and social skills. “Environmental education gives our children the tools they need to create a more sustainable energy-efficient future for this country, and by teaching our children about the environment, the legislation will help encourage them to protect it and prepare them for the green jobs of tomorrow,” said U.S. Representative George Miller of California, the author of the original No Child Left Inside legislation.3
Many environmental and educational organizations support this No Child Left Inside Act including: the National Parks Conservation Association, League of Conservation Voters, National Council for Science and the Environment, National Science Teachers Association, National Wildlife Federation, North American Association of Environmental Education, the YMCA, and the Outdoor Industry Association.4
On July 14, 2011, the No Child Left Inside Act of 2011 was introduced into the 112th Congress by Congressman John Sarbanes, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois. The legislation was co-sponsored by 26 other Congressmen showing their bi-partisan support.5
- 1. “House Approves Legislation to Strengthen Environmental Education for America’s Schools.” Committee on Education and Labor Press Release, September 18 2008 U. S. House of Representatives. < http://www.house.gov/apps/list/speech/edlabor_dem/091808NCLI.html > 4 Aug. 2010.
- 2. “About the No Child Left Inside Act.” No Child Left Inside. < http://www.cbf.org/Page.aspx?pid=948 > 3 Aug 2010.
- 3. Op. cit., “House Approves Legislation to Strengthen Environmental Education for America’s Schools.”
- 4. Op. cit., “House Approves Legislation to Strengthen Environmental Education for America’s Schools.”
- 5. "Breaking News: Bi-Partisan No Child Left Inside Act Has Been Introduced." No Child Left Inside. < http://www.cbf.org/page.aspx?pid=687> 15 July 2011.