Long Awaited Education for Sustainability Benchmarks Released on Earth Day

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 Long Awaited Education for Sustainability Benchmarks to Be Released on Earth Day

Educating for a Sustainable Future:  Benchmarks for Individual and Social Learning was released by The Journal of Sustainability Education on Earth Day, April 22, 2017.  This 70-page account is authored by, and represents the current and best thinking of forty-two of the major scholars and practitioners of the field of Education for Sustainability (EfS).  The Benchmarks include the Big Ideas, Thinking Skills, Applied Knowledge, Dispositions, Actions, and Community Connections that define Education for Sustainability.  They embody the essential elements that administrators, curriculum professionals, faculty, board and community members need to adopt Education for Sustainability; to align with it; to self-assess their own performance, and to intentionally and effectively educate for the future we want by design. In addition, The Benchmarks embody the consensus that the field needs to demonstrate the impact of EfS and to catalyze wide spread implementation.

“I am so thrilled that Education for Sustainability (EfS) finally has a defining set of Benchmarks that reflects the consensus of the field to date.  Now schools and districts, universities and anyone who wants to know what EfS is or is not will have access to our collective wisdom.  With this shared understanding of the essential elements of EfS, we can confidently design and assess for it; we can analyze and calibrate student work as evidence of it; Schools, Colleges and Universities can adopt EfS Benchmarks and align to and design curriculum with them, and we can assess the extent to which our educational institutions are preparing students to contribute to a sustainable future.  All are vital to our ability to measure the impacts of EfS, and to determine whether there is a correlation between whole school sustainability and measurable progress toward sustainable community development at the municipal level”, stated Jaimie Cloud, founder and president of The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education.  “I am honored to be an author, the curator and editor of so many important scholars’ work and I thank all the authors and reviewers for working tirelessly on this document until we were able to reach consensus.  I look forward to the next phase of our work—the call for exemplars.”

Following the Benchmarks, are Supporting Instructional Practices and Perspectives, Organizational Policies and Practices, an Afterword and several Appendices that provide information about the topics often associated with EfS, contributing disciplines, aligned innovations, preliminary research findings on the impact of EfS, and a bibliography.  The next step is the Call for Exemplars.  We are asking educators at all levels of education to send The Journal of Sustainability Education the evidence they have of Education for Sustainability as defined by The Benchmarks.  We want to know what EfS looks like, how educators are achieving the results, and how they are communicating quality criteria at various depths of knowledge, grade levels and degrees of quality.  We are inviting curriculum plans, assessment instruments, performance indicators, quality criteria and exemplary student work, and we want to know which aspect(s) of EfS the authors designed for, and which ones they achieved.  We will build an open source data base of these exemplars so that the field can begin to calibrate the work for developmental appropriateness, continuity, creativity and continuous improvement.

Link to Benchmarks here.

About The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education:  A non-profit organization based in New York City, The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education has a mission to ensure the viability of sustainable communities by leveraging changes in K-12 school systems to prepare young people for the shift toward a sustainable future.

About The Journal of Sustainability Education: The Journal of Sustainability Education (JSE) serves as a forum for academics and practitioners to share, critique, and promote research, practices, and initiatives that foster the integration of economic, ecological, and social-cultural dimensions of sustainability within formal and non-formal educational contexts.  


Jaimie Cloud, Founder/President

The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education

P.O. Box 2450

New York, NY 10027

(212) 645-9930