Rule bill to expand outdoor education clears House

OLYMPIA – Today, legislation by Rep. Alicia Rule (D-Blaine) to expand outdoor school programs passed the Washington state House of Representatives 92-6. HB 2078 directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to create a program that will award grants to support schools in offering outdoor learning, requires the OSPI give priority to schools that have been underserved in science education, and encourages the program to work with education stakeholders to develop principles for outdoor education. 

“When kids learn outside, they don’t just learn biology from tidal pools and math from calculating the sun’s angle,” said Rule. “They learn the value of the land, our responsibility to it and out how healing nature can be.” 

This bill represents continued work by Rep. Rule to expand opportunities for outdoor education and builds on the three funds she secured last session: one for outdoor education in the Blaine and Mt. Baker school districts; another for 5th and 6th graders statewide so they could recover from learning loss through outdoor education in the summer of 2021; and a study by Western Washington University researchers to determine the benefits of continuing these programs in the future.   

“Kids have spent so much time behind screens in the last two years. I’m excited to see this bill advance to get them back outside and connecting with the world around them,” said Rule.  

HB 2078 and now moves onto the Senate.