KAEE and its members work to advocate for EE in Kentucky in various ways. Because we have seen how significant advances in EE can be achieved through policies at both the state and federal levels, KAEE stays alert to opportunities to shape EE policy, develop strategies for advancing key initiatives, and build capacity for advocacy within the EE community. KAEE and its members work closely with state government employees; local, regional, and statewide elected officials; and communities around Kentucky to bolster EE around the state. We believe we can expand our impact in the EE field by advocating for policies, legislation, and government resources that affect our members and the greater EE community.
An environmentally literate community is an engaged community.
COMMUNICATING WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS
As timely and important issues arise, we invite members to engage in civic action in order to affect change in the political realm. (And, of course, everyone is encouraged to contact their legislators any time about any issues that are important to them!)
EE ADVOCACY ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL
KAEE is an active member in the North American Association for Environmental Education’s (NAAEE) Advocacy Action Network. This group works to affect national legislation regarding EE. Want to stay up-to-date with the latest NAAEE advocacy initiatives? Join the Advocacy, Policy, and Civic Engagement group on eePRO, the online platform for environmental education professional development and resources. All are welcome to join!
ADVOCACY RESOURCES FOR NONPROFITS
EE in the Every Student Succeeds Act
Signed by President Obama in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the comprehensive federal legislation that governs preK-12 education in the United States. ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.
Thanks to advocacy efforts on the part of NAAEE; organizations such as KAEE; and parents, educators, and elected officials around the country, the bill includes language making environmental education and environmental literacy programs explicitly eligible for federal education funds for the very first time.
The key language is found in two formula grant programs described in Title IV of the bill:
Environmental education is distinguished as eligible for funding under a $1.6B “well-rounded education” grants program
Environmental literacy programs are eligible for funding as part of the $1B 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
The prioritization of STEM activities including “hands-on learning” and “field-based or service learning” to enhance understanding of STEM subjects may provide additional opportunities for environmental science education programs.
Visit NAAEE’s Policy Initiatives page for tools for EE providers to use in partnering with school districts to advance environmental literacy and to get tips for reaching out to school administrators as they make decisions about how to spend Title IV grants funds and provide students with a well-rounded education.
2018 ESSA Update
In the FY2018 budget, Titles IVA and IVB were allocated $1.1B and $1.2B, respectively. For Title IVA, this is an increase of $700M over the FY2017 budget. This significant increase makes the 2018-19 school year the first truly meaningful opportunity to leverage these funds for environmental education for most school districts.
KAEE works with educators, school administrators, and elected officials around Kentucky to shape and advocate for policies that will expand or improve EE. Our efforts are guided by Kentucky's Master Plan for EE and the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan, adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education in 2011. We encourage all stakeholders to talk to their local school district leaders about using Title IVA dollars to support environmental education as part of their efforts to provide students with a well-rounded education. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how we can help you with outreach to your local school district!