On June 21, 2011, Maryland’s State Board of Education provided specific guidance to its public schools to require that each student be environmentally literate before he or she graduates from high school.
The vote cements Maryland as the first state in the country to approve a graduation requirement in environmental literacy.
The state school board vote clarifies for schools that each child must receive a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary environmental education that meets the approval of the State Superintendent of Schools.
The Maryland State Department of Education has established two workgroups to begin revising and aligning Maryland environmental literacy standards, and developing guidelines to provide school systems with guidance and support for implementation.
The move positions Maryland and other states with strong environmental literacy plans to potentially receive federal funding. Draft legislation called the No Child Left Inside Act soon to be reintroduced in Congress would help provide some federal funding.
“The No Child Left Inside Act would increase environmental education opportunities for students across the country,” said Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland, author of the bill.
Studies show environmental education has a measurable, positive impact on student achievement not only in science but in math, reading, and social studies.
Business leaders also increasingly believe an environmentally literate workforce is critical in a burgeoning green economy.
source: Chesapeake Bay Foundation