NCLB was enacted to give teachers greater authority and flexibility in exchange for more accountability. However, the law places great emphasis on reading and math and requires stringent testing on these two subjects. This forces many schools to abandon environmental education programs so they can invest more time and money in math and language arts. Science teachers, for example, bypass environmental science and other subject areas that do not relate directly to the all-important state tests. They, too, forego valuable field experiences for the students, as this takes time away from test-related instruction.
Environmental education also is hamstrung by a lack of funding. The National Environmental Education Act, the primary source of federal support for K-12 environmental education, provided only $6.6 million in funding in 2006—an average expenditure of only $132,000 for each of the states.
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