Environmental education now required in Maryland schools

Environmental education initiatives are popping up at schools around the US; few places, however, require them. The state of Maryland yesterday joined Washington as one of the exceptions to this rule: according to the Baltimore Sun, “The Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to make environmental education a part of every student’s education…”

“Required” is relative here: the Board did not make this a graduation requirements, or mandate particular classes. Rather, schools and districts will add environmental educational components to existing courses. Students will also have to complete a “local action” project “…to improve the environment either individually or with their school,” according to the AP. Districts will have to report on their efforts every five years, and incorporate green education at all levels… from pre-K to high school.

Less than 24 hours after the board’s vote, the requirement is getting reactions. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, for instance, considers the requirement a “partial victory,” as they’d have liked to have seen stronger requirements. The right-leaning Washington Examiner has reported on the new requirement, but offered little in terms of opinion… the best sense of opposition you’ll see right now is in the comments of the Sun article.

As you might imagine, I think this is a great idea… and since school systems have until 2015 to implement these requirements, there’s time to address issues such a teacher training (an initial concern I had). But I’m interested… do you think required environmental education is a good move? Let us know what you think…


Image credit: woodleywonderworks at Flickr under a Creative Commons license