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H.R. 3036 (110th): No Child Left Inside Act of 2008

The text of the bill below is as of Oct 2, 2008 (Referred to Senate Committee).

HR 3036 RFS


2d Session

H. R. 3036


September 22 (legislative day, September 17), 2008


October 2 (legislative day, September 17), 2008

Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


To reauthorize and enhance the National Environmental Education Act, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ‘No Child Left Inside Act of 2008’.


    (a) Definitions- Section 3 of the National Environmental Education Act (20 U.S.C. 5502) is amended--

      (1) in paragraph (12), by striking ‘and’ at the end;

      (2) in paragraph (13), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following:

      ‘(14) ‘principles of scientific research’ means principles of research that--

        ‘(A) apply rigorous, systematic, and objective methodology to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs;

        ‘(B) present findings and make claims that are appropriate to, and supported by, the methods that have been employed; and

        ‘(C) include, appropriate to the research being conducted--

          ‘(i) use of systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment;

          ‘(ii) use of data analyses that are adequate to support the general findings;

          ‘(iii) reliance on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and generalizable findings;

          ‘(iv) strong claims of causal relationships, only with research designs that eliminate plausible completing explanations for observed results, such as, but not limited to, random-assignment experiments;

          ‘(v) presentation of studies and methods in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, to offer the opportunity to build systematically on the findings of the research;

          ‘(vi) acceptance by a peer-reviewed journal or critique by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review; and

          ‘(vii) consistency of findings across multiple studies or sites to support the generality of results and conclusions;

      ‘(15) ‘scientifically valid research’ includes applied research, basic research, and field-initiated research in which the rationale, design, and interpretation are soundly developed in accordance with principles of scientific research;

      ‘(16) ‘State’ has the meaning given such term in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965; and

      ‘(17) ‘State educational agency’ has the meaning given such term in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.’.

    (b) Environmental Education and Training Program- Section 5 of the National Environmental Education Act (20 U.S.C. 5504) is amended--

      (1) in subsection (b)--

        (A) in paragraph (1)--

          (i) by inserting ‘creating opportunities for enhanced and ongoing professional development and’ before ‘classroom’; and

          (ii) by inserting ‘(including integrating scientifically valid research teaching methods and technology-based teaching methods into the curriculum)’ after ‘practices’;

        (B) in paragraph (3)--

          (i) by striking ‘curriculum, including’ and inserting ‘curriculum (including’;

          (ii) by striking ‘groups;’ and inserting ‘groups) which--’; and

          (iii) by adding at the end the following:

        ‘(A) are aligned with challenging State and local academic content standards to the extent such standards exist; and

        ‘(B) advance the teaching of interdisciplinary courses that integrate the study of natural, social, and economic systems and that include strong field components;’;

        (C) in paragraph (7), by striking ‘and forums;’ and inserting ‘forums, and bringing teachers into contact with working professionals in environmental fields to expand such teachers’ subject matter knowledge of, and research in, environmental issues;’;

        (D) in paragraph (8), by striking ‘; and’ and inserting ‘, including environmental education distance learning programs for teachers using curricula that are innovative, content-based, and based on scientifically valid research that is current as of the date of the program involved;’;

        (E) by redesignating paragraph (9) as paragraph (13);

        (F) by redesignating paragraphs (4) through (8) as paragraphs (5) through (9), respectively;

        (G) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:

      ‘(4) encouraging individuals traditionally under-represented in environmental careers to pursue postsecondary degrees in majors leading to such careers;’; and

        (H) by inserting after paragraph (9) (as so redesignated) the following:

      ‘(10) establishment of programs to prepare teachers at a school to provide environmental education professional development to other teachers at the school and programs to promote outdoor environmental education activities as part of the regular school curriculum and schedule in order to further the knowledge and development of teachers and students;

      ‘(11) summer workshops or institutes, including follow-up training, for elementary and secondary school environmental education teachers;

      ‘(12) encouraging mid-career environmental professionals to pursue careers in environmental education; and’; and

      (2) in subsection (c)(1), by inserting ‘, in consultation with the Secretary,’ after ‘Administrator’.

    (c) Authorization- Section 11(a) of the National Environmental Education Act (20 U.S.C. 5510(a)) is amended by striking ‘Act’ and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting ‘Act, except for section 11, $14,000,000 for fiscal year 2009.’.

    (d) National Capacity Environmental Education Grant Program; Accountability- The National Environmental Education Act (20 U.S.C. 5501 et seq.) is amended--

      (1) by redesignating section 11 as section 13; and

      (2) by inserting after section 10 the following:


    ‘(a) Grants Authorized-

      ‘(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to nonprofit organizations, State educational agencies, local educational agencies, municipalities, or institutions of higher education that have demonstrated expertise and experience in the development of the institutional, financial, intellectual, or policy resources needed to help the field of environmental education become more effective and widely practiced. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a State educational agency, a local educational agency, an institution of higher education, a municipality, or a not-for-profit organization may use funds provided under this section to coordinate with any program or unit operated by a Federal Natural Resource Management Agency to carry out environmental education programs based on the full range of the resources and mission of the Agency.

      ‘(2) DURATION- The Secretary shall award each grant under this section for a period of not less than 1 year and not more than 3 years.

    ‘(b) Use of Funds- Grant funds made available under this section shall be used for 1 or more of the following:

      ‘(1) Developing and implementing challenging State academic content standards, student academic achievement standards, and State curriculum frameworks in environmental education, including the need to balance conservation of the environment with the development of the Nation’s energy resources.

      ‘(2) Replicating or disseminating information about proven and tested model environmental education programs that--

        ‘(A) use the environment as an integrating theme or content throughout the curriculum;

        ‘(B) provide integrated, interdisciplinary instruction about natural, social, and economic systems along with field experience that provides students with opportunities to directly experience nature in ways designed to improve overall academic performance, self-esteem, personal responsibility, community involvement, personal health (including addressing child obesity issues), or their understanding of nature;

        ‘(C) provide integrated instruction on waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting programs and, when possible, promote such activities within the school; or

        ‘(D) address issues of environmental justice, including policies and methods for eliminating disparate enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, including with respect to low-income communities.

      ‘(3) Developing and implementing new policy approaches to environmental education, which shall include a discussion of--

        ‘(A) the benefits and costs to the environment and to consumers regarding increasing the supply of energy produced in the United States from--

          ‘(i) oil and gas drilling;

          ‘(ii) nuclear power;

          ‘(iii) new coal technologies; and

          ‘(iv) clean renewable and alternative sources of energy, including wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, and advanced biofuels; and

        ‘(B) the best strategies for reducing energy consumption through an enhanced emphasis on efficiency and conservation.

      ‘(4) Conducting studies of national significance that--

        ‘(A) evaluate the effectiveness of teaching environmental education as a separate subject, and as an integrating concept or theme;

        ‘(B) evaluate the effectiveness of using environmental education in helping students improve their assessment scores in mathematics, reading or language arts, science, and the other core academic subjects; or

        ‘(C) evaluate ways to coordinate activities under this Act with existing Federal science teacher in-service training or professional development programs.

      ‘(5) Executing projects that advance widespread State and local educational agency adoption and use of environmental education content standards, including adoption and use of such standards in textbook selection criteria.

      ‘(6) Developing a State environmental literacy plan that includes the following:

        ‘(A) A description of how the State educational agency will measure the environmental literacy of students, including--

          ‘(i) relevant State academic content standards and content areas regarding environmental education, and courses or subjects where environmental education instruction will take place; and

          ‘(ii) a description of the relationship of the plan to the secondary school graduation requirements of the State.

        ‘(B) A description of programs for professional development for teachers to improve the teachers’--

          ‘(i) environmental content knowledge;

          ‘(ii) skill in teaching about environmental issues; and

          ‘(iii) field-based pedagogical skills.

        ‘(C) A description of how the State educational agency will implement the plan, including securing funding and other necessary support.

      ‘(7) Developing evidence-based approaches to build capacity to increase the number of elementary and secondary environmental educators.

    ‘(c) Applications- Each municipality, nonprofit organization, State educational agency, local educational agency, or institution of higher education desiring a grant under this section shall submit to the Secretary an application that contains a plan to initiate, expand, or improve environmental education programs in order to make progress toward meeting State standards for environmental learning (to the extent such standards exist) and environmental literacy and contains an evaluation and accountability plan for activities assisted under this section that includes rigorous objectives that measure the impact of activities funded under this section. Such application may describe how the applicant has partnered, or intends to partner, with a State and local park and recreation department.

    ‘(d) Requirements-

      ‘(1) ANNUAL REPORT- In order to continue receiving grant funds under this section after the first year of a multi-year grant under this section, the grantee shall submit to the Secretary an annual report that--

        ‘(A) describes the activities assisted under this section that were conducted during the preceding year;

        ‘(B) describes the results of the grantee’s evaluation and accountability plan; and

        ‘(C) demonstrates that the grantee has undertaken activities to accomplish at least one of the following:

          ‘(i) Responsibly preparing children to understand and address major challenges facing the United States, such as increasing the supply of clean energy, climate change, environmental health risks, and environmental disaster and emergency preparedness.

          ‘(ii) Supporting systemic education reform by strengthening environmental education as an integral part of the elementary school and secondary school curriculum.

          ‘(iii) Helping ensure that all students meet challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards in environmental learning.

          ‘(iv) Supporting efforts to enable students to engage in environmental education.

          ‘(v) Leveraging and expanding private and public support for environmental education partnerships at national, State, and local levels.

          ‘(vi) Awarding grants to initiate, expand, or improve environmental education programs for elementary and secondary students.

          ‘(vii) Restoring and increasing field experiences as part of the regular school curriculum and schedule in order to improve students’ overall academic performance, self-esteem, personal responsibility, community involvement, personal health (including addressing child obesity issues), and understanding of nature.

      ‘(2) ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES- Not more than 5 percent of the grant funds made available to a nonprofit organization, State educational agency, local educational agency, or institution of higher education under this section for any fiscal year may be used for administrative expenses.


        ‘(A) IN GENERAL- A State educational agency receiving a grant under this section shall--

          ‘(i) have a State environmental literacy plan that is consistent with the requirements of subsection (b)(6) and that is peer reviewed within the State by a panel composed of experts in environmental education and representatives from other related State agencies; or

          ‘(ii) develop a State environmental literacy plan described in subsection (b)(6) with funds made available under this section prior to using the grant funds for any other purpose.

        ‘(B) PEER REVIEW- If an environmental literacy plan described in subparagraph (A)(i) has not been peer reviewed within the State, the State educational agency, notwithstanding subsection (b), shall use funds made available under this section to complete such review, as described in such subparagraph, prior to using the grant funds for any other purpose.

        ‘(C) OTHER GRANTEES- An applicant for a grant under this section that is not a State educational agency and applies for funding to be used for the purpose described in subsection (b)(6) shall demonstrate in the application that the applicant has consulted with the State educational agency about such use of funds.

    ‘(e) Administrative Provisions-

      ‘(1) FEDERAL SHARE- The Federal share under this section shall not exceed--

        ‘(A) 90 percent of the total cost of a program assisted under this section for the first year for which the program receives assistance under this section;

        ‘(B) 75 percent of such cost for the second; and

        ‘(C) 50 percent of such cost for each subsequent such year.

      ‘(2) REPORT TO CONGRESS- Not later than one year after enactment of this bill, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate a report that--

        ‘(A) describes the programs assisted under this section;

        ‘(B) documents the success of such programs in improving national and State environmental education capacity; and

        ‘(C) makes such recommendations as the Secretary determines appropriate for the continuation and improvement of the programs assisted under this section.

      ‘(3) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS- Amounts made available to the Secretary to carry out this section shall remain available until expended.

    ‘(f) Supplement, Not Supplant- Funds made available under this section shall be used to supplement, and not supplant, any other Federal, State, or local funds available for environmental education activities.

    ‘(g) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2009.


    ‘(a) Quality Indicators- The Administrator, the Secretary, and the Foundation each shall establish indicators of program quality for the programs and activities funded under this Act (other than fellowship awards funded under section 7) that such official or entity administers.

    ‘(b) Minimum Indicators- Such indicators of program quality, at a minimum, shall--

      ‘(1) enhance understanding of the natural and built environment;

      ‘(2) foster a better appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of environmental issues and conditions;

      ‘(3) increase achievement in related areas of national interest, such as mathematics and science;

      ‘(4) increase understanding of the benefits of exposure to the natural environment;

      ‘(5) improve understanding of how human and natural systems interact together;

      ‘(6) broaden awareness of environmental issues; and

      ‘(7) include such other indicators as the Administrator, Secretary, or Foundation may develop.

    ‘(c) Report- Each recipient receiving funds under this Act, other than fellowship recipients under section 7, shall report annually to the Administrator, the Secretary, or the Foundation regarding progress made in meeting the minimum indicators of program quality established under subsection (b). The Administrator, the Secretary, and the Foundation shall disseminate such information widely to the public through electronic and other means.’.

    (e) Restrictions on Federal Government and Use of Federal Funds- The National Environmental Education Act (20 U.S.C. 5501 et seq.), as amended by subsection (d), is further amended by adding at the end the following:


    ‘(a) General Prohibition- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school’s curriculum, program of instruction, specific instructional content, academic achievement standards, assessments, or allocation of State or local resources, or mandate a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this Act.

    ‘(b) Prohibition on Endorsement of Curriculum- No funds provided to the Administrator or Secretary under this Act may be used by the Agency or Department of Education to endorse, approve, or sanction any curriculum designed to be used in an elementary school or secondary school.

    ‘(c) Prohibition on Requiring Federal Approval or Certification of Standards- No State shall be required to have academic content or student academic achievement standards approved or certified by the Federal Government, in order to receive assistance under this Act.

    ‘(d) Restrictions on Partisan Political Influence-

      ‘(1) IN GENERAL- In carrying out the activities described in this Act, the Administrator and Secretary shall ensure that such activities--

        ‘(A) conform to high standards of quality, integrity, and accuracy;

        ‘(B) are objective, neutral, and nonideological and are free of partisan political influence; and

        ‘(C) do not advocate a particular political viewpoint.

      ‘(2) ACTIONS TO IMPLEMENT AND ENFORCE- The Administrator and Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary to ensure that the provisions of this section are vigorously implemented and enforced.’.

    (f) Conforming Amendment- The table of contents in section 1(b) of the National Environmental Education Act (20 U.S.C. 5501 note) is amended by striking the item relating to section 11 and inserting the following:

      ‘Sec. 11. National capacity environmental education grant program.

      ‘Sec. 12. Accountability.

      ‘Sec. 13. Authorization.

      ‘Sec. 14. Restrictions on Federal Government and use of Federal funds.’.

Passed the House of Representatives September 18, 2008.