Fitzpatrick Introduces Environmental Education Bill

Jul 16, 2013
Fitzpatrick Introduces Environmental Education Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Fitzpatrick (PA-8) Tuesday introduced legislation to better educate children about the natural sciences and foster greater environmental awareness and stewardship.

The bipartisan No Child Left Inside Act was introduced into the House by Fitzpatrick and Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) the same day a companion bill was introduced into the Senate by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). It would authorize funding for schools to incorporate environmental literacy and wellness into their curriculum.

“This bill reflects a larger, overall responsibility to promote environmental stewardship in future generations,” said Fitzpatrick. “Incorporating environmental learning is a down payment on our progress- one that will spur both future scientists and healthier, more conscious citizens.”

No Child Left Inside would streamline comprehensive education grant programs- allowing 70% of potential funding to go toward the development of a K-12 education plan to ensure environmental literacy, while utilizing the remaining 30% of funding to create partnerships local groups and non-profits.

“Research shows that a hands-on approach to teaching kids about the environment improves student achievement in science as well as reading, math and social studies – all which directly strengthens our global competitiveness,” added Fitzpatrick. 

The legislation is supported by a coalition of over 1,900 local, regional, and national organizations representing millions of concerned citizens who are anxious to see a new commitment to environmental education, including the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, and others.

“The legislation introduced by Congressman Fitzpatrick would help bring this important topic of environmental education to the attention of the public,” said Maryellen Noonan, Environmental Educator with the Bucks County Conservation District. “Many children view the environment only on a screen- Teaching about the environment should be done outdoors, but many teachers lack the tools necessary to be effective environmental educators.  This bill will change that.”

No Child Left Inside would also highlight the Department of Education’s main environmental education focus, the Green Ribbon Schools initiative.  This initiative recognizes leading schools across America that have reduced environmental impacts and costs, improved health and wellness and provided an effective environmental education program. 

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.