Image courtesy of westernplastics.org
Reading, ‘riting,’rithmatic used to be the three “R’s” pertaining to school education. Now you can add a fourth “R”: “Re-’riting”.
A controversy regarding the influence of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), a lobbying group for the plastics industry, on a K-12 text book has gotten folks in a rollicking rage.
To understand the controversy, let’s first go over the the reactants that coincidentally came together for the reaction.
First was the ACC’s public relations and lobbying effort last year to battle plastic bag bans across the nation.
Second: the rewriting of textbooks and teacher’s guides for a K-12 environmental curriculum in California.
Add a touch of special interest influence from the opportunistic ACC on the curriculum writing process and what is the product yield? An entire section in the environmental curriculum titled ”The Advantages of Plastic Bags.”
Many California residents, environmental groups, and some politicians were not okay with that equation, so they decided to become proactive to address the matter. Over 30,000 California citizens signed a petition demanding that California school officials omit or clarify any misleading statements from the ACC.
Now, you may be wondering why, if this was last year’s news, would anyone bring up the matter again right now?
Well, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) responded to the demands of the petition and decided to revise the section on plastics, and the amended chapter was just released this past Friday for the public to view.
So far, the newly edited chapter has been getting a pretty good reception; even the environmental organization Californians Against Waste was satisfied with the changes.
Brian Ehlers, Cal/EPA’s Assistant Secretary for Education and Quality Programs, stated that to revise the chapter, Cal/EPA, in collaboration with school officials:
He also assured that the agency edited the chapter in such a way that it did not display bias in “the other direction” either.
After all, the ACC and environmentalists do tend to have a distinct polarity when it comes to their respective–and inflexible–feelings regarding plastic.