A bright environmental future starts in today's classrooms
California's new K-12 program, the Education and Environment Initiative, broadens students' environmental horizons.
Monday, February 21, 2011 - 18:33
TEACHING GREEN: EEI curriculum hopes to increase students' eco-awareness. (Photo: Senator Fran Pavley
State Senator Fran Pavley, the author of several pieces of legislation that have strengthened the regulatory atmosphere to better protect the environment and public health, is "thrilled" to see her Education and Environment Initiative (EEI) curriculum showing up in a number of California classrooms in 2011.
After close to ten years of development, research and testing, the 85-unit program is fully approved and available for any school in the U.S. to incorporate into existing lesson plans. Senator Pavley and the many groups who collaborated to make EEI a reality envision the landmark curriculum being widely adopted as our country looks toward a cleaner energy future and deepens its commitment to environmental sustainability.
Monica Ward, a member of the California Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission, who field-tested EEI units in her 10th grade world history classes at Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, says, "These are high-quality materials, and they are freely accessible. I really hope it represents a new era in environmental education. I was excited that this curriculum was created by scholars with teachers' input."
EEI in the classroom
Rolling the EEI program out into California's classrooms is no small feat. School districts in the state number nearly 1,000, with more than 6 million students enrolled. Though the process of bringing standardized eco-education to kids is just beginning, California Schools Magazine writes that the "ultimate goal [of EEI] is to ensure that all California public school students ... get access at some point in their educational journey to this new curriculum, which features hands-on, interactive lessons."
Senator Pavley, who herself was an 8th grade teacher for 28 years prior to winning public office, says the EEI lesson plans will educate children "about environmental concepts such as ecosystems, human impacts on air and water quality and clean, secure sources of energy" in conjunction with the traditional subjects of science and history-social studies.
Growing awareness and career opportunities
Integrating learning about environmental and ecological concerns into schools could pique students' curiosity about sustainability, preservation, resource allocation and conservation, climate sciences and more. Capturing the imagination of future generations is key to building a clean energy and technology future for the U.S. and growing the "green" sectors in our economy. Senator Pavley points out in The Epoch Times that young adults are fully on the bandwagon, saying, "The people I talk to who really 'get' it, and this is somewhat exciting, are the college and university students ... [They] see climate change and clean, secure energy as the issue for their generation. And they're preparing themselves for the jobs of the future."
A great deal of commitment and cooperation went into bringing the EEI program to fruition, and the ability of so many to work together so tirelessly in this effort to grow environmental awareness in the coming generations is inspiring. Here's to a bright "green" future!
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