A bill introduced by state Rep. Julie Rogers (D) would require Michigan schools to emphasize so-called “environmental literacy”.

House Bill 4961 creates a 13-member panel, called the “Environmental Literacy Task Force” composed of Gretchen Whitmer administration appointees, along with representatives from several school associations. The bill does not designate a seat for a parent.

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It includes:

  • The superintendent of public instruction or the superintendent of public instruction’s designee.
  • The director of the department of environment, Great Lakes, and energy or the director’s designee.
  • One member representing the water resources division of the department of environment, Great Lakes, and energy, as appointed by the director of that department.
  • The director of the department of natural resources or the director’s designee.
  • One member representing the parks and recreation division of the department of natural resources, as appointed by the director of that department.
  • One member representing the wildlife division of the department of natural resources, as appointed by the director of that department.
  • One member representing the forest resources division of the department of natural resources, as appointed by the director of that department.
  • One member representing the fisheries division of the department of natural resources, as appointed by the director of that department.
  • The director of the department of agriculture and rural development or the director’s designee.
  • A representative of the Michigan Science Teachers Association.
  • A representative of the Michigan Association of School Administrators.
  • A representative of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.
  • A representative of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association.

The task force will be required to develop an “environmental literacy model curriculum” that will, in part, “Prepare students for understanding and addressing environmental challenges of this state and the United States”.

Topics that “must be addressed in the environmental literacy model curriculum,” according to the bill, include “Environmental literacy”, “Climate change”, and “Healthy lifestyle”.

While the legislation requires the task force to “Seek input from a variety of sources to develop the environmental literacy model curriculum to ensure that the curriculum is based on equally weighted viewpoints in furtherance of critical thinking and analysis regarding environmental literacy,” it does not provide examples of the “variety” of sources legislators would find acceptable.

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The bill, which was introduced in September, does not have any co-sponsors and was referred to the House Committee on Education.