"Issues and Action in Education"

The Fed's Cure for "Nature Deficit Disorder" in Our Kids

By Professor Allen Quist

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EdWatch Index

July 15, 2008



Claiming to have the remedy for "nature deficit disorder," Congressional Democrats (along with some Republicans) are in the process of passing a new federal education program for all 50 states. The bill is called "No Child Left Inside" and is a major expansion of the federal education train-wreck, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

The bill is H.R.3036 (S.1981); the chief author is Rep. John Sarbanes (D, MD), it recently passed the full House Education and Labor Committee and it now awaits action on the House floor. Essentially the bill allows Al Gore's followers to define much of what now passes for "education.".
This radical bill says that it will make K-12 students "environmentally literate" before they graduate. If passed, the program will actually indoctrinate our kids with the values of the sky-is-falling type of environmentalists, the same crowd that has given us $4.00 plus per gallon gasoline by making it impossible to tap into our huge oil reserves on the North Slope of Alaska and the outer continental shelf.
In its original form, the bill said that "nature deficit disorder" required the creation of this new federal initiative-creative language by the environmental extremists, to be sure. There has to be a crisis (manufactured, of course) to manipulate normal people into tolerating major and unwarranted expansion of the federal reach into our fundamental freedoms.
Under this bill there will be no need for students to be literate in the principles of freedom which have made this a great nation (see the "The Twelve Pillars of Freedom"), but they will have to be "environmentally literate," instead. Passage of this bill will be a huge victory for team Al Gore. (Who won the 2000 election, anyway?)
And how will "environmentally literate" be defined? To answer that question, we  need look no further than the Earth Charter--the commonly held platform of environmental groups worldwide--to see the likely definition. The Earth Charter defines environmental education to include (a) promotion of gay marriage [12a], (b) embracing nuclear disarmament [16d.}, (c) adoption of legalized abortion [7e.], (d) ratification of Agenda 21, Kyoto and the Biodiversity Treaties [8a and conclusion], (e) socialized medicine [7e], (f) stopping activities that may harm the environment even when scientific proof of real danger is nonexistent [6a], and (g) indoctrination in the religion of Pantheism [numerous lines in the Charter]-to name just a few of its features. Don't expect federally required and defined "environmental education" to be anything less than this.
The bill has "environmental education" incorporated into existing classes. That way when your kids are enrolled in history, math, reading or science, you may think they are studying academic subjects, when much of their time will actually be devoted to this indoctrination defined by Al Gore types, instead. Even less time, money and effort will be devoted to genuine education, of course.
Like No Child Left Behind, the bill uses federal grant money to entice states to comply with this new federal power-grab. (See the author's book, Fed Ed: The New Federal Curriculum And How It's Enforced for a probing description of how the federal government is in the process of imposing its curriculum on our schools.) (For a detailed description of the agenda of the activists who oversee the national education standards (de facto federal curriculum), see the author's book, America's Schools: The Battleground For Freedom.)
Our nation's education program used to be about teaching our kids basic knowledge and academic skills. It is rapidly being transformed into a system for indoctrinating our children into the radical ideology of the environmental left.
In addition to the damage this bill will do to our children, we must seriously ask if our nation can survive this kind of assault on its foundation. I assure you, it cannot. Call your U.S. senators and representatives and tell them to vote "no" on the No Child Left Inside Act. Tell them you want our kids inside a real school devoted to teaching academic knowledge and skills. Tell them to oppose H.R. 3036 and S 1981. Call them today.

About the author:
Allen Quist is Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota and is a widely recognized writer and speaker. He is the author of five books, four of them on education policy.

Allen Quist served three terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1983 to 1988. He chaired the Social Services Subcommittee and was also a member of the House Education Committee. Quist played an influential role in legalizing home schools in Minnesota. He was the Republican endorsed candidate for Minnesota Governor in 1994, and was one of seven delegates elected from Minnesota to the White House Conference on Families in 1980.

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