Title: School Daze
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 Material Information
Title: School Daze
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Petroleum Engineer International
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: School Daze, November 1993, by Russell Wright
General Note: Box 8, Folder 4 ( Vail Conference, 1994 - 1994 ), Item 37
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00001382
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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- A S aa - -f -- -V W- T--


School Daze


Recent article describing the pros
and cons of how our schools are
covering today's environmental issues
brought to mind an assignment our II -
year old was given last year. She and her
classmates were instructed to write to
their respective U.S. Congressmen,
expressing whatever concerns they may
have for the environment (assuming
they had any prior to a little coaching).
After watching this process for about an
hour and trying to calculate the cost of
all that crumbled notebook paper regu-
larly hitting the trash can, we just had to
ask why our pupil was starting over
again and again.
The answer considerably surprised
and perplexed us-these kids were told
by their teacher that their letter had to
be error-free, with no cross-throughs or
erasures. Now if there ever was a better
example of misguided thinking in the
name of the environment, we haven't
seen it yet.
We also had a personal run-in with
an overzealous grade school teacher at
the supermarket over environmental
policy. Faced with the decision of choos-
ing either paper or plastic for bagging
our groceries, we opted for plastic, and
were immediately chastised by the lady
behind us who stated that she "always
tells her students to use paper since
plastic is made from oil, which must be
imported, and thus, could be spilled,
which would make a big mess," etc. We
left mumbling something about deriving
our living from oil and quoting the "save
paper and save a tree" motto.
The foregoing anecdotes are among
the evidence that our children may be
receiving questionable (or wrong) advice
from the very people they trust the most
(second, hopefully, to their parents). It
also brings into question who decides
what should be taught or what lmacterials
should be provided at school. O;r are our
kids getting unbiased information ade-
quate for making up their own minds?
The answer, we suspect, is no, given
the reception received by a film Exxon
produced to show the effects of the
i'ahlez oil spill in Alaska's Prince William
Sound. The louston (Texas) Indepen-
dent School District, for example, has


rejected the Exxon film for use in the
classroom since it "was deemed to have
played down the amount of damage
done to the area and ignored complaints
from environmentalist and fishermen
that many effects are long-term."
Furthermore, the article that prompted
all of this says the film is "now% notori-
ous in education circles," which indi-
cates some bias to us.
A Houston middle school teacher
was quoted as saying that "environmen-
tal education is almost a hype button, a
way to encourage children in some very
serious science...we want children to
think about being responsible, and
those decisions can be made upon fac-
tual information." If that's true, then
why can't our kids see the Exxon film
and, after discussing it with their class-
mates, make their own decision as to
its validity?
Texas and several other states suppos-
edly are required to include environ-
mental issues in classroom training,
although it is up to the local school dis-
trict to decide how it is done. The
important question here is, who within
the districts makes these decisions? And
is the Exxon film really biased, or does
it disagree with the opinion of some
anti-oil teacher? We suspect the latter.
Jonathan Adler of the Competitive
Enterprise Institute seems to agree, and
feels that environmental groups have the
advantage. He says that there are
numerous "materials put out by corpo-
rate industry trade groups...but our
research shows most of it comes from
environmental lobbying organizations."
lie also says that teachers Irust environ-
mentalists and scientists more than cor-
pot nations.
Therefore, based on Adler's assess-
ment, the next time your child invites
you to talk at career day, be sure to tell
them that you are an environmentalist
(no degree nor licensing prograni that

we know of is required). Furthermore,
if you happen to hold a degree in petro-
leum engineering, geology, geophysics,
etc., tell them that you're an earth sci-
entist-then tevel in all that new-found
respect.
Russell Wright


Petroleum Engineer International


It's not as
controversial as
sex education, but
what your kids are
caught about the
environment may
cause you to
question their
schools motives.


NOVEMBER 1993




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