|Will environmental education be administered through the Next Generation Science Standards?|
From the Federal Register comes a notice of teleconference calls on Environmental Education:
Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, EPA gives notice of a series of teleconference meetings of the National Environmental Education Advisory Council (NEEAC). The NEEAC was created by Congress to advise, consult with, and make recommendations to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on matters related to activities, functions and policies of EPA under the National Environmental Education Act (the Act).The purpose of these teleconference(s) is to discuss specific topics of relevance for consideration by the council in order to provide advice and insights to the Agency on environmental education.
The National Environmental Education Advisory Council will hold public teleconferences on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, Monday, September 23, 2013, Monday, October 23, 2013 and Monday, November 25, 2013, from 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time.
What is The National Environmental Education Advisory Council and its significance in setting educational delivery/development of curriculum? From epa.gov and The National Environmental Education Act (1990):
The National Environmental Education Act of 1990 [PDF 190K, 15 pages, about PDF] requires EPA to provide national leadership to increase environmental literacy. EPA established the Office of Environmental Education to implement this program.
To promote environmental education, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
(a) TITLE — This Act may be cited as the `National Environmental Education Act'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND POLICY.
There is growing evidence of international environmental problems, such as global warming, ocean pollution, and declines in species diversity, and that these problems pose serious threats to human health and the environment on a global scale.
Development of effective solutions to environmental problems and effective implementation of environmental programs requires a well educated and trained, professional work force.
Current Federal efforts to inform and educate the public concerning the natural and built environment and environmental problems are not adequate.
Existing Federal support for development and training of professionals in environmental fields is not sufficient.
The Federal Government, acting through the Environmental Protection Agency, should work with local education institutions, State education agencies, not-for-profit educational and environmental organizations, noncommercial educational broadcasting entities, and private sector interests to support development of curricula, special projects, and other activities, to increase understanding of the natural and built environment and to improve awareness of environmental problems.
The Federal Government, acting through the coordinated efforts of its agencies and with the leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency, should work with local education institutions, State education agencies, not-for-profit educational and environmental organizations, noncommercial educational broadcasting entities, and private sector interests to develop programs to provide increased emphasis and financial resources for the purpose of attracting students into environmental engineering and assisting them in pursuing the programs to complete the advanced technical education required to provide effective problem solving capabilities for complex environmental issues.
POLICY — It is the policy of the United States to establish and support a program of education on the environment, for students and personnel working with students, through activities in schools, institutions of higher education, and related educational activities, and to encourage postsecondary students to pursue careers related to the environment.
For the purposes of this Act, the term--
`Secretary' means the Secretary of the Department of Education;
`local education agency' means any education agency as defined in section 198 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 3381) and shall include any tribal education agency;
*****`environmental education' and `environmental education and training' mean educational activities and training activities involving elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students, as such terms are defined in the State in which they reside, and environmental education personnel, but does not include technical training activities directed toward environmental management professionals or activities primarily directed toward the support of noneducational research and development;
SEC. 4. OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION.(a) The Administrator shall establish an Office of Environmental Education within the Environmental Protection Agency.
(b) The Office of Environmental Education shall--
(1) develop and support programs and related efforts, in consultation and coordination with other Federal agencies, to improve understanding of the natural and built environment, and the relationships between humans and their environment, including the global aspects of environmental problems;
(2) support development and the widest possible dissemination of model curricula, educational materials, and training programs for elementary and secondary students and other interested groups, including senior Americans;
(3) develop and disseminate, in cooperation with other Federal agencies, not-for-profit educational and environmental organizations, State agencies, and noncommercial educational broadcasting entities, environmental education publications and audio/visual and other media materials;
(4) develop and support environmental education seminars, training programs, teleconferences, and workshops for environmental education professionals, as provided for in section 5 of this Act;
(5) manage Federal grant assistance provided to local education agencies, institutions of higher education, other not-for-profit organizations, and noncommercial education broadcasting entities, under section 6 of this Act;
(6) administer the environmental internship and fellowship programs provided for in section 7 of this Act;
(7) administer the environmental awards program provided for in section 8 of this Act;
(8) provide staff support to the Advisory Council and Task Force provided for in section 9 of this Act;
(9) assess, in coordination with other Federal agencies, the demand for professional skills and training needed to respond to current and anticipated environmental problems and cooperate with appropriate institutions, organizations, and agencies to develop training programs, curricula, and continuing education programs for teachers, school administrators, and related professionals;
(10) assure the coordination of Federal statutes and programs administered by the Agency relating to environmental education, consistent with the provisions and purposes of those programs, and work to reduce duplication or inconsistencies within these programs;
(11) work with the Department of Education, the Federal Interagency Committee on Education, and with other Federal agencies, including Federal natural resource management agencies, to assure the effective coordination of programs related to environmental education, including environmental education programs relating to national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges;
(12) provide information on environmental education and training programs to local education agencies, State education and natural resource agencies, and others; and
(13) otherwise provide for the implementation of this Act.
(c) The Office of Environmental Education shall--
(1) be directed by a Director who shall be a member of the Senior Executive Service;
(2) include a headquarters staff of not less than six and not more than ten full-time equivalent employees; and
(3) be supported by one full-time equivalent employee in each Agency regional office.
(a) There is hereby established an Environmental Education and Training Program. The purpose of the program shall be to train educational professionals in the development and delivery of environmental education and training programs and studies.
(b) The functions and activities of the program shall include, at a minimum--
(1) classroom training in environmental education and studies including environmental sciences and theory, educational methods and practices, environmental career or occupational education, and topical environmental issues and problems;
(2) demonstration of the design and conduct of environmental field studies and assessments;
(3) development of environmental education programs and curriculum, including programs and curriculum to meet the needs of diverse ethnic and cultural groups;
(4) sponsorship and management of international exchanges of teachers and other educational professionals between the United States, Canada, and Mexico involved in environmental programs and issues;
(5) maintenance or support of a library of environmental education materials, information, literature, and technologies, with electronic as well as hard copy accessibility;
(6) evaluation and dissemination of environmental education materials, training methods, and related programs;
(7) sponsorship of conferences, seminars, and related forums for the advancement and development of environmental education and training curricula and materials, including international conferences, seminars, and forums;
(8) supporting effective partnerships and networks and the use of distant learning technologies; and
(9) such other activities as the Administrator determines to be consistent with the policies of this Act.
Special emphasis should be placed on developing environmental education programs, workshops, and training tools that are portable and can be broadly disseminated.
(c)(1) The Administrator shall make a grant on an annual basis to an institution of higher education or other institution which is a not-for-profit institution (or consortia of such institutions) to operate the environmental education and training program required by this section.
(2) Any institution of higher education or other institution (or consortia of such institutions) which is a not-for-profit organization and is interested in receiving a grant under this section may submit to the Administrator an application in such form and containing such information as the Administrator may require.
(3) The Administrator shall award grants under this section on the basis of--
(A) the capability to develop environmental education and training programs;
(B) the capability to deliver training to a range of participants and in a range of settings;
(C) the expertise of the staff in a range of appropriate disciplines;
(D) the relative economic effectiveness of the program in terms of the ratio of overhead costs to direct services;
(E) the capability to make effective use of existing national environmental education resources and programs;
(F) the results of any evaluation under paragraph (5) of this subsection; and
(G) such other factors as the Administrator deems appropriate.
Is the Federal Government via private surrogates creating curriculum and assessments for state agencies and school districts? Is "supporting the development of environmental materials" actually controlling the curriculum (CCSS aligned) schools are required to teach? The EPA wouldn't support the creation of standards that opposed its theories. Will there be any curricula crafted by these private companies that would not align to the Agency's goals? An educated guess to that last question would be "no".
Note the passage that was asterisked above:
*****`environmental education' and `environmental education and training' mean educational activities and training activities involving elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students, as such terms are defined in the State in which they reside,
In 1990, the education and training was controlled by the states. Now the Next Generation Science Standards (national standards) are expected to be adopted by most states and more Science curriculum will be merged in with the Common Core ELA/Math standards. There is little expectation that the states will set independent educational development/direction of science standards. Via a 1990 Congressional Act, the Federal Government was granted the authority to set a vision for environmental education, fund this vision, and now, the standards for this vision are being crafted by private corporations supported by the same Federal Government that is legally prohibited from setting curriculum.
The standards are copyrighted, just as the Common Core standards are copyrighted by the Council of Chief State School Officers. From the NGSS site:
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS and the associated logo are registered trademarks of Achieve, Inc.
Reserve your attendance at this teleconference so you can discover what relevant topics in environment education the National Environmental Education Advisory Council is considering. Maybe the teleconference call will help determine the relationship of national science standards to environmental education and the vision of the agency.