The Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award celebrates K-12 schools that best exemplify America’s transition to a sustainable economy and demonstrate environmental literacy. The federal government’s initiative will help ensure the vision of green schools for everyone within this generation. A total of 75 state and national organizations signed on in support of this program. The federal government initiative is a tremendous boon for students involved with the green schools movement.
“Preparing our children to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at an event announcing the new program. “It’s work that will serve future generations and quite literally sustain our world.”
While the Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes academic distinction, the Green Ribbon Schools program recognizes schools that are demonstrating sustainability. The program acknowledges schools that are creating healthy and sustainable learning environments and teaching environmental literacy.
The program will evaluate schools across four categories: environmental education; energy efficiency and resource conservation; healthy operations and maintenance; and community engagement and service learning.
“Environmental literacy is an important part of a well-rounded, world-class education,” Secretary Duncan said. “Through the Green Ribbon Schools program, we’ll be holding up schools that are leading the way in teaching science and in ways that show students the importance of developing clean energy sources and sustainable solutions for the environment.”
The program is a milestone in collaboration among the Department of Education, EPA and White House CEQ, and it shows strategic leadership from the federal government.
“Each day, we ask students across the nation to demonstrate excellence, integrity and leadership in the classroom, and in return, the Federal Government must do the same,” said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The Green Ribbon Schools program will recognize healthy learning spaces that promote environmental literacy and prepare our leaders of tomorrow to win a clean energy future.”
The Green Ribbon Schools program reflects President Obama’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, and preparing today’s students for jobs in fields that provide clean energy solutions.
Between these three government agencies there are dozens of programs, grants and initiatives that can relate to healthy, high-performing schools.
“The schools taking part in this initiative will help kids connect what they’re learning in science class with the world around them, allowing them to envision solutions to tomorrow’s challenges while living healthier lives today,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “By making green living a part of everyday learning, Green Ribbon Schools will prepare our children to win the future by leading our global green energy economy.”
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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