NSTA Legislative Update
June 23, 2008

House Education and Labor Commitee Approves No Child Left Inside

On June 18 the House Education and Labor Committee approved No Child Left Inside (HR 3036), legislation introduced earlier this year by Rep. Sarbanes (D-MD) to encourage more environmental education in K–12 classrooms.

The bill would amend the National Environmental Education Act (NEEA, PL 101-609) by creating new funding for training teachers in environmental education and for expanding environmental education programs. It would also provide new funding to states that create environmental literacy plans.

The bill will go later this summer to a vote in the full House of Representatives. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) has introduced similar legislation in the Senate. NSTA is an original cosponsor of the No Child Left Inside coalition.

Prior to the committee vote, House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller said in his opening statement,  “Environmental education has been with us for a long time. Outdoor education, such as field trips to local nature reserves, has provided countless children with their first exposure to the splendor and fragility of nature, and the impact people have on it. ... Now we need to make environmental education an even more important part of students’ school years. In addition to getting kids outdoors, we must teach them about the environment as if our society and our local communities depended on it—because the fact is, they do depend on it. “

For more information, visit the No Child Left Inside coalition website.

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Supplemental Spending for FY2008 Programs Includes Additional Funds for NSF EHR Directorate

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives finally passed H.R. 2642, the FY2008 emergency supplemental bill for efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan that also included funding for domestic programs, including funding for many of the research and development and science and math education programs in the America COMPETES Act. 

The bill contains about $400 million in science spending, including $62.5 million for the National Science Foundation, $62.5 million for the Department of Energy Office of Science, $62.5 million for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and $150 million for the National Institutes of Health.

The amended bill includes $40 million for the National Science Foundation Education and Related Activities, of which $20 million is for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarships program, which provides scholarship assistance to college students who pursue STEM degrees and agree to go into teaching. An additional $20 million is for the Robert Noyce Master Teacher Fellowships Program. This program provides assistance to in-service teachers who are pursing master’s degrees in STEM fields.

The Senate is expected to pass H.R. 2642 later this week, and OMB has signaled that the President will sign this spending measure into law.

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House of Representatives to Consider NASA Reauthorization Bill

A bipartisan bill to reauthorize NASA and its programs for FY2009 is now being considered by the full House.

H.R. 6063, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008, is expected to pass the House, but the Office of Management and Budget has issued a statement declaring "the Administration strongly opposes" the bill.

For more information go to FYI, The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News, Number 65: June 12, 2008.

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