Leading the way!
Way to go, o'homeland Maryland! Tuesday, June 21st, on the FIRST day o'summer, 2011, Maryland's State Board of Education became the first state Board of Ed. to vote that all high school graduates need to be "environmentally literate."
So...What exactly does all of this mean?
1. This was a pretty historic decision. It's a brand new kind of educational legislation, and it is a move that will help to lay the groundwork for other states to follow.
2. It means students, upon graduation, should be able to (literally) be "litter-ate"...able to "eat litter" in a single bound. Maryland's working to mold a generation of Michael and Rachel Recycles who will know how important human decisions regarding our usage and disposal of waste. This education will need to occur cross-curricularly in all subjects, especially social studies and the sciences, and meet the Board of Ed's standards.
3. It means that the traditional 3 R's of school will double, if not triple. No longer is it just "Reading, wRiting, and 'Rithmatic," but we can add in the environmental mantra of "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle"...as well as the unstated, yet most important, three: "Refuse, Respect, Responsibility." ["Refuse" as in "refuse the plastic (and other over-consumption) waste initially, at the front end."]
4. Students will be trained about the importance of being responsible for their actions, at least environmentally-speaking. Hopefully too, as an aside, it gives an added dose of character education. It also goes without saying that "health and fitness" go along with being active in the great outdoors, so we might also be doing a little bit to fight the "obesity in America" crisis!
5. It pays to have an environmentally-focused governor, like Governor Martin O'Malley. Likewise...having an eco-supportive State Superintendent of Schools (Dr. Nancy Grasmick) helps too.
6. In Governor O'Malley's words:
“This is a defining moment for education in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “By approving this environmental graduation requirement, the Board of Education is ensuring that our young people graduate with a keen understanding of and connection to the natural world. Only through exposure to nature and education about our fragile ecosystem can we create the next generation of stewards. ”7. It means Maryland is paving the way for other states to follow:
“This is a momentous day not only for Maryland but for educators across the country who are watching what Maryland does, and hoping to increase outdoor learning in their states," said Don Baugh, director of the No Child Left Inside Coalition (NCLI). “ Governor O’Malley and Dr. Grasmick deserve our profound gratitude. For years they have put Maryland at the forefront of the environmental education movement.”8. It means we're grooming a state of future environmental leaders, who can work to make positive steps toward conservation, resource-management, and greener energy supplies. With any hope, we're also sculpting a solution to dissolve our over-reliance on oil in this nation! (Definitely needed given today's headlines stating that the US [along with other oil-consumption nations] will be releasing well over 50 Million barrels of oil from federal reserves in order to help keep energy prices down:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43508263/ns/business-going_green/). Don't even get me started on the disposable petroleum waste that is plastic!!
9. It means some classroom teachers out there are going to need to step up their own level of education. Fingers are crossed that as a state, we can back the funding necessary for any of this training. Luckily, Green Team Gazette is always a great place to start--and free at that!! ;-)
For more, go to...
Baltimore Sun's "B'More Green Section": http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/features/green/2011/06/green_literacy_new_graduation.html
Care2's "It’s A First! Maryland Students Must Be ‘Green’ To Graduate:
My Green Guide Maryland (where above quotes were from)
Michael Recycle images from www.amazon.com .
"Environmental Literacy" pic from http://www.eco-hub.org/proposal/.
Maryland Green School Flag pic from http://www.eaglecoveschool.org/maryland-green-school.