As Congress continues its rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law, there is one proposed change that should draw overwhelming approval. That's the mandate — added to the bill last week by a Senate committee — to require U.S. public schools to teach environmental literacy.
The need for environmental education has never been greater. Every day, the country seems to be facing new and difficult choices touching on environmental issues, ranging from how to meet energy needs to how to deal with toxic materials that might pollute our air, water or soil. The next generation will only face more difficult decisions as the Earth's population grows (it is predicted to reach 7 billion this month) but its natural resources do not.
Maryland recognized this challenge last year when environmental literacy was made a mandatory part of the curriculum. The requirement leaves it largely up to individual school districts how best to meet this educational goal.