NAAEE Policy Initiatives

DC Skyline via Shutterstock
DC Skyline via Shutterstock

Join the conversation in the eePRO Advocacy, Policy, and Civic Engagement group.

Policy Initiatives

Significant advances in environmental education can be achieved through new and revised policies at the state and federal level. NAAEE works with affiliates and other partners to monitor opportunities to shape EE policy, develop strategies for advancing key initiatives, and build capacity within the EE community for advocacy.

Join the Advocacy Group on eePRO for more details on all of NAAEE’s policy initiatives and contribute to the conversation. See the current issues of focus for our eePRO Advocacy group members. 

Specific Initiatives

EE in the Every Student Succeeds Act

WEBINAR on ESSA Updates: School District Outreach

Watch a webinar with Sarah Bodor, NAAEE's Director of Policy & Affiliate Relations, to gain further insight on how best to communicate with school district officials about using ESSA funds for Environmental Education.​

The Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is the comprehensive federal legislation that governs preK-12 education in the United States. Thanks to advocacy efforts on the part of NAAEE, Affiliates, and dozens of partners, 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 called out 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.

As states and school districts implement ESSA, NAAEE will continue to provide updates and tools for EE providers to use in partnering with school districts to advance environmental literacy. Read a fact sheet on ESSA, review an ESSA implementation timeline, and 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. 

State-level Policies

NAAEE works with its affiliates to shape and advocate for policies at the state level that will expand or improve EE. State policies include legislation related to environmental literacy plan development or implementation, dedicated funding for EE and outdoor education, healthy schools legislation, and other innovative vehicles. For more information on what’s happening in your state, find your affiliate!  

Early Childhood

NAAEE’s Natural Start Alliance is a coalition of educators, parents, organizations, and others who want to help young children connect with nature and care for the environment. The Natural Start Alliance advocates for improvements to state requirements for early childhood education centers, including increased minimum guidelines for outdoor playtime and space per child. Learn more about outdoor learning environments and early childhood education and the work of the Natural Start Alliance



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