I'm a little surprised the Southern Illinoisan was willing to run this guest op-ed about the Illinois coal curriculum
. They're usually willing lackeys to the coal industry. Illinois claims to have the largest coal subsidy program of any state, and part of that money is used to mislead children about coal.
Quote:This week, June 19-22, Illinois grade school teachers will gather at the Rend Lake Resort near Mount Vernon for the 15th annual Coal Education Conference sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Each year, IDCEO spends up to $70,000 for this all-expense-paid teachers’ retreat. While our children’s teachers deserve to be recognized for their dedication and hard work, this particular retreat is nothing more than a corporate ploy to advance the coal industry’s “clean coal” message through grade school lesson plans at taxpayer expense.
“From the Coal Mines to the Power Lines” is grades K-12 classroom curriculum developed through a partnership with corporate coal interests such as Knight Hawk Mining Company, Southern Illinois Power Cooperative and the Illinois Clean Coal Institute, with substantial help from state taxes Illinois citizens pay in utility bills. This educational charade contains scores of lessons carefully crafted by the coal industry, advertising coal as the fuel of the future, while cleverly avoiding any serious discussion of the documented economic, health and environmental effects related to the use of coal.
The so-called curriculum is nothing short of industry propaganda designed to create a bias toward coal and away from sustainable, clean energy options for their future. Our children are taught that environmental regulations will significantly raise the cost of producing electricity and that the evidence is not clear that the combustion of fossil fuels has led to a warming climate. They are even taught to create commercial advertisements for coal. The burning of fossil fuels is the single greatest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions to our atmosphere, and coal-fired power plants are accountable for nearly one-third of these emissions in the U.S. The failure to even consider these facts in a curriculum purporting to provide students with a sound and meaningful understanding of coal is inexcusable.
The author goes on to name a number of other inaccuracies in the curriculum. Like Joe Camel, the program uses cartoons to sell children a deadly product that causes respiratory problems and cancer.