Environmental Literacy: Maryland
In 2011, Maryland became the first state in the nation to pass an environmental literacy high school graduation requirement mandating that every local public school system in the state must now provide a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary environmental education program infused with current curricular offerings and aligned with state environmental literacy standards.
Several states, including Maryland, have had environmental education standards as part of their curriculum for some time. However, even in states that have had these standards in place, not all students have had access to environmental education programs and environmental education has been significantly reduced (even eliminated) in many K-12 classrooms as programs are increasingly challenged by a curricular focus on testing requirements.
The ultimate goal of environmental literacy efforts is to ensure that all students are provided the opportunity to develop the knowledge, intellectual skills, attitudes, experiences and motivation to make and act upon responsible environmental decisions as individuals and as members of their community while developing the critical tools necessary to succeed in a 21st century workforce.