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.)