Tonight, the Senate Committee  on  Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) completed its mark up of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). During the mark up hearing, the committee accepted an amendment put forth by Senator Casey (PA) that proposed a new grant program entitled “Well-Rounded Education” which includes environmental education as a subject eligible for funding under Title IV of ESEA. This marks an historic shift in federal education policy and is a significant and critical step towards our collective goal of ensuring access to high quality environmental and outdoor education programs for all students.

This is only one more step, but it is a big step in the right direction. Senator Harkin, Chairman of the HELP Committee, has indicated his interest in bringing the ESEA legislation to the Senate floor for a vote in the coming weeks. We will be closely monitoring this process and pursuing all opportunities to work with our sponsor, Senator Jack Reed (RI) to build on our success and pursue additional opportunities to advance environmental literacy through ESEA. Stay tuned for further updates, and visit for upcoming details on what the Senate bill would mean for states.

Thanks to all of you for your continued advocacy for NCLI. It is because of your efforts that we have achieved this remarkable milestone.