National Council on Science and the Environment- Non-Traditional Educational Systems

About a year ago I began looking into programs for environmental science and public policy. When I first began on this journey I was shocked to see have many major universities have one or the other but only about 25 have developed programs that are strictly related to environmental science and public policy or economic issues.

Months later, I found myself sitting in front of my students. You see, I teach 4th and 5th grade science, and I often wonder like many people what type of world will the kids sitting before me face. Looking at the education system as it stands today wondering if it’s possible to spawn a whole new generation of kids that are interested in science let alone environmental science. Then I found myself wondering about the Presidents commitment to this new Green Economy of his, and my thoughts turned back to the students before me, and wondered how are we to prepare them for this new economy – or new workforce the President hopes to instill in order to revive our economy. And like any good teacher knows, and maybe even some of you, the most important lessons we learned in life, we learned in primary school. As an educator – especially one who has been in schools that were disadvantaged, schools that could barely afford hot lunches and books, I am left to wonder how these children are to compete in a world that has not afford them the opportunity to learn what photovoltaic technology is, let alone how it is fixed, upgraded, and/or maintained. Another aspect of this is, that if we are finding it difficult in our own country to fulfill the educational requirements, than other countries in lesser developed areas of the world will also look for approaches to addressing the issues of education and policy for

One of the reasons, I was drawn to Planet Forward was its campaign to educate the public on the issues of environmental, from carbon production, to electric cars, or even power related subjects. I have recently been involved with a project that is directly related to the goals of education of the public. Not just sending out pamphlets, or the run of the mill course on environmental science, or sustainability, but to truly development education programs that help young children, on up to young adults entering into college and discovering the various field within environmental science, engineering, mechanics, and even policy.

I am working with the National Council on Science and the Environment this month at their National Conference to set recommendations for the Obama administration regarding the Development of Nontraditional Educational Systems Within Developing Countries to Create a New, Sustainable Economy. Some of the goals intending to be address during the session are:

Session Goals:
• Develop a game plan to provide identified countries access to free and credible knowledge base and up-to-date, peer-reviewed information.
• Develop workshops to promote the idea of hands on, solution-based education, which includes analysis, synthesis, and communication skills.
• Develop a nontraditional graduate curriculum in ecological economics.
• Identify key professionals, scientists, and practitioners within the field to participate in this endeavor.
• Identify potential funding sources for the MetaUniversity initiative.
• Identify potential funding sources for a Spanish version of the Encyclopedia Earth.
• Identify further key players in higher education institutions and ministries of education within identified countries.
• Reassess the structure of the MetaUniversity initiative to incorporate the ideas and needs of the stakeholders.

Intended Results:
• Transform the higher educational system, using developing countries as a catalyst for change.
• Ensure the change to a sustainable and socially desirable economy.
• Promote the use of the Encyclopedia of Earth and credible online educational tools.
• Create global access to expertise within the field.
• Develop a framework for solutions-based workshops.

The Conference is next week January 20-22, if you are interested in learning about more related issues delving into this topic of Green Economics and Policy, than it’s the place to be. The session on Non-traditional Education Systems is only one of thirty-seven sections taking place at the conference. If you are interested please see the website for more information. Follow the Link-
http://ncseonline.org/conference/greeneconomy/

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