Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Environmental ED--Courtesy of Gray

In yet another last minute bill imposed by the ousted Gov., California schools will now be required to teach state-mandated environmental education.

California schools are facing yet another education requirement to contend with, courtesy of bill signed by Gov. Gray Davis.

AB 1548 requires the Office of Education and Environment within the EPA to develop a curriculum for teaching environmental issues in schools by July 1, 2004.

According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, it could cost up to $500,000 to fund the program, coupled with "unknown major costs' in teacher training. ...

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D- Agoura Hills, will provide a curriculum to teach environmental issues in science, math, language arts and other subjects.

Additionally, all state agencies with environment education programs will have to coordinate with the Office of Education and Environment and align their programs with state standards.

Yet another example of spreading education resources too thin and failing to focus on a core mission of raising reading and math achievement in public schools. In my experience dubious environmental issues and discussions already take up a significant portion of school time.

If state standards would make the discussion more balanced this might not be such a bad idea. However, the curriculum will likely favor an environmentalist agenda. If schools cannot manage to teach history and science without raging political debates, it seems like a potential future firestorm to come to terms with a "standard" environmental curriculum.

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