Tell Scholastic: Stop Selling Kids on Coal
  • Petitioned Richard Robinson

This petition was delivered to:

CEO, Scholastic
Richard Robinson
VP, Corporate Communications and Media Relations, Scholastic
Kyle Good

Tell Scholastic: Stop Selling Kids on Coal

    1. Petition by

      Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

  1.  
  2.   
May 2011

Victory

Over a fast-paced 48 hours, after a huge national outcry, the world’s largest educational publisher Scholastic has agreed to stop distributing “The United States of Energy,” a controversial fourth-grade teaching curriculum paid for by the American Coal Foundation.

The campaign was started by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childood and Rethinking Schools, then quickly joined by 3 environmental groups— Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace USA, and the Center for Biological Diversity. Together, in this short amount of time, this campaign generated more than 3,500 petition letters, including 200 through Change.org. Significant media attention, including a New York Times editorial slamming Scholastic, also heaped on additional pressure. 

Scholastic also committed to reviewing the internal policies that led to approval of this outrageous curriculum within its notorious sponsored-materials program. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood will build upon this success by pressuring Scholastic to stop distributing corporate PR in classrooms, entirely. (Sign their new petition here).

The coal industry, through the American Coal Foundation, has hired Scholastic to produce The United States of Energy, teaching materials designed to paste a smiley face on the world’s dirtiest form of energy.  Scholastic sent the materials to tens of thousands of 4th grade classrooms around the country.

Teachers are told that the curriculum aligns with national standards because it teaches children the advantages and disadvantages of different types of energy.  But while the lessons do extol the advantages of coal, they fail to mention a single disadvantage.  Nothing about the Appalachian mountains chopped down to get at coal seams.  Nothing about the poisons released when coal is burned.  Nothing about the fact that burning coal is the single biggest contributor to human-created greenhouse gases.

Schools should teach fully and honestly about coal and other forms of energy.  However, the materials produced by Scholastic are not genuinely educational; they are industry PR.  Please take a moment and join CCFC and Rethinking Schools in urging Scholastic to stop promoting coal in elementary school classrooms.  (For more information, please see this article from Rethinking Schools.)

Recent signatures

    News

    1. This petition was an amazingly fast victory on late Friday, when Scholastic put out a statement that it would end the distribution of "The United States of Energy" and conduct a review of its sponsored content program.

      Now, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is pushing Scholastic to end the Scholastic program that made this outrageous coal industry sponsorship possible. Sign the new petition: "Tell Scholastic: Stop Pushing Corporate PR In Classrooms":

    2. Reached 200 signatures
    3. Read this amazing New York Times Editorial slamming Scholastic for this program:

      "A Scholastic representative said that the company had no intention of repeating the energy project but noted that it was never meant to serve as a comprehensive curriculum. That’s beside the point given that the lessons carried the company’s imprimatur and were misleadingly touted as complying with national fourth-grade learning standards.

      If Scholastic really wants to avoid repeating this mistake, it should choose more carefully its partners in producing course materials."

    4. Reached 100 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Maneesh Pangasa YUMA, AZ
      • over 3 years ago

      I am writing to urge you to immediately end Scholastic’s partnership with the American Coal Foundation to promote coal in elementary school classrooms.

      Teachers, parents, and children trust Scholastic because of its reputation as an educational publisher, but you are abusing that trust. "The United States of Energy" curriculum materials, which were distributed to tens of thousands of elementary teachers, teach only what your paying client wants children to learn. They don’t encourage students to think objectively about coal—and therefore do not belong in schools.

      Scholastic tells teachers that the curriculum aligns with national standards because the lessons teach children "that different types of energy (e.g., solar, fossil fuels) have different advantages and disadvantages." The lessons do extol the advantages of coal, but they fail to mention a single disadvantage.

      Your materials teach that coal is abundant and that it is mined and burned for energy, but contain nothing about its impact on the environment and human health. Nothing about the hundreds of Appalachian mountains leveled to get at coal seams. Nothing about the poisons released when coal is burned—like sulfur dioxide, mercury, and arsenic—which the American Lung Association says kill thousands of people each year. And nothing about the fact that burning coal is the single greatest contributor to human-created, climate-altering greenhouse gases.

      I urge you to make a public statement that you will stop distributing "The United States of Energy" and to refrain in the future from producing marketing materials that masquerade as an educational curriculum.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sylvie Bermannová PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
      • over 3 years ago

      It is no news that coal is unsustainable and the coal industry's continuance is detrimental to public health, so it is high time it was replaced with green energy. Kids should learn about sources of energy objectively. Propagandistic materials that do not reveal the whole truth, esp. when the dark side is concealed, must be dismissed. Our future is in our hands.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Marilyn McClelland FANNY BAY, CANADA
      • over 3 years ago

      JUST STOP ALL MINING COAL AND SAVING US ALL THAT WOULD BE THE SOLUTION. SOLAR,WIND AND HYDRO ARE THE BEST ALTERNATIVES AS THEY ARE POISON FREE AND DO NOT POLLUTE THE WORLD!!!

      COAL IS NOT CLEAN AND NEVER WILL BE.

      UNHEALTHY GREED IS THE BASIS OF ALL NEW COAL MINING THESE DAYS.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Phillip Sheppard CHERRY HILL, NJ
      • over 3 years ago

      I will not buy any of your products until you remove these and any similar items, issue a public apology, and donate all proceeds from the sale of these items to charity.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Andrew Heugel BREWSTER, NY
      • over 3 years ago

      From the fossil fuel industry, to the war machine, to tobacco to the likes of Micky D's, the mega corporations appear bent on poisoning our kids' minds and bodies before they are old enough to understand what hit them.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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