The first Green Charter Schools Conference is set to begin Nov 7-9, 2008 at the Nelson Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The goals of the conference include professional development for educators; opportunities for collaboration among green schools, environmental scientists, and eco-organizations; and public education regarding green charter schools.
As the conference site states, "Charter schools are innovative public schools that provide educational choices for families and school-site accountability for results. Today, more than 1.2 million children in 40 states and the District of Columbia attend one of more than 4,300 public charter schools. By enacting charter school laws, states have created the capacity for change, expanded educational opportunities for young people and opened a new-schools sector in public education.
Among the innovative charter schools emerging in public education are a growing number of green charter schools with environment-focused educational programs and practices. The Green Charter Schools Network, a new national non-profit organization, was launched in February 2008. With a vision of every person being environmentally literate and practicing sustainability in their community, the Network supports the establishment, enhancement and advancement of public charter schools with environment-focused educational programs and practices."
I am lucky to be among the dozens of speakers at the conference where I plan on talking about using the school building itself as a three-dimensional textbook.
Tia Nelson, daughter of Governor Gaylord Nelson who launched the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, is set to host the conference. She states in a Capital Times opinion article, "As a result of impassioned summertime conversations about the present urgency of my father's words, environmental scientists, educators and other citizens from throughout the United States will travel to storied central Wisconsin in November for a seminal discussion of the dual imperative for public schools to recognize sustainable "green" values as a critical aspect of citizenship and to use charter-school operating arrangements to research and develop the comprehensive environmental education and conservation curricula we need to dramatically change our culture, preserve natural capital and enjoy a good life that does not deprive future generations.
It has become clear to many of us who have been focused on environmental issues that it is now critical for our nation to rethink the ways public education serves its crucial role in the development of a sustainable society."