We just found out that public education authorities are consulting with Big Oil companies about what our children learn in schools.
Authorities have invited tar sands giants Syncrude Canada, Cenovus Energy and Suncor Energy to help draft “Alberta’s future curriculum" from kindergarten to grade 12. There is absolutely no reason why any company should be involved in designing our kids' education -- let alone three of the most polluting corporations in the tar sands industry.
But the partnership has just been announced, and the curriculum panel still hasn't met. If we act quickly, we can kill the partnership and get Big Oil’s dirty hands off our children’s textbooks.
Alberta Education: Stop consulting with Syncrude, Suncor and Cenovus about our kid’s education.
A reminder: these are the companies that have sued environmental activists for protesting toxic tar sands tailings ponds, and spilled thousands of barrels of toxic tar sands waste into our rivers. But now, Alberta Education wants to give them control over what kids learn in schools.
Particularly concerning is the plan for Syncrude and Suncor to assist in the redesign of the K-to-3 curriculum. These are a child's most formative years, and there is no reason for tar sand companies to set the direction of their education.
This isn’t the first time that Syncrude has tried to influence our kids -- it designed a video game that tries to tell kids how green the company is. But designing our schools' curriculum is so much more damaging than a greenwashing video game. The mind boggles about what Big Oil will ask for: Drop any mention of the environment from science textbooks? Teach our kids that climate change is a myth? Canadian parents shouldn’t have to ask these questions.
This is part of a clear attempt by the oil companies to expand their influence over our public institutions -- and we have to stand up and say no. Last year, Big Oil companies were invited to re-write our environmental laws. This year, they want to start with kindergarten. We need to break these deeply disturbing links between oil lobbyists and our lawmakers before we become a full-fledged petrostate.
Tell Alberta Education to keep Big Oil out of our kids' classrooms now.
Critics raise concerns over oil industry involvement in Alberta curriculum redesign, Edmonton Journal, 12 March 2014.
Syncrude iPhone App Teaches Kids To Stop Worrying And Love The Oil Sands, Huffington Post, 6 November 2011