Guess why U.S. schoolchildren are said not to know enough about global warming? As with everything else that may or may not be wrong with young Americans, just blame NCLB. So says the North American Association for Environmental Education's recent study, Environmental Literacy in America. It asserts that, because of No Child Left Behind, the amount of environmental education in schools has "leveled off and may even be in decline for the first time in three decades." But fret not. Congress is allegedly considering legislation to include in a reauthorized NCLB greater emphasis on environmental education and more funding for it. We're skeptical--and not just because we haven't encountered that particular bill. Is environmental awareness really in decline in America's classrooms (just look at the, ahem, warm reception Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, has received)? Second, why does environmental education need to be enshrined in a massive federal law? Schools should teach science; ecology is part of science; and the environment is part of ecology. Teachers don't need more mandates heaped upon them, especially those motivated by actors and activists swooning over the latest Hollywood docudrama. What's next, a federally-funded Ethanol Awareness Week for 7-year-olds?
"Greener Lessons Needed," Associated Press, December 3, 2007