In Illinois, teachers use cute cartoons of anthropomorphic coal to teach kids that our dirtiest fossil fuel is great.
But don't blame the teachers. Blame coal-industry lobbyists and the state government.
The Illinois Coal Technology Development Assistance Act calls for the promotion of coal in school curricula. A curriculum developed in 2004 to comply with that law blends coal-related lessons into math, geology, and economics classes and art and essay contests. (Jeff Biggers touched on this bizarre situation in a Grist post in 2009.)
Fortunately, there's now a gust of intellectual fresh air that could help clear Illinois classrooms of some of this nonsense. The state's Commerce Department, which oversees the coal education program, recently released a 400-page evaluation that recommends an overhaul. Midwest Energy News reports: