The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity runs an annual Coal Calendar Art & Essay Contest for middle schoolers, asking students to shill for the coal industry, no doubt in response to a biased classroom lesson about coal. See the comment thread on the coal coloring book story. This comment from reader LILACWINE seems worth calling out:

I teach science at a public middle school in Illinois and I have been receiving the “Illinois Coal is our Hero” calendars for years.  I do not know how I got on the mailing list, but the first year I actually cried when I saw it.  To think there are students out there who are being taught that “coal is the answer to all our energy needs” makes me worry about the miseducation of a whole generation of young people.

I am grateful to teach in a school that allows me some professional freedom to focus on a climate-change based curriculum.  However, I needed to invent this curriculum; our middle school text books do not contain current environmental information (although they are from 2002.  Hopefully newer ones reflect more current information.)

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If you are a teacher and you need curriculum ideas, I learned about this site last year.  They have some curriculum for sale, but a lot of it is free.  http://www.facingthefuture.org/Curriculum/CurriculumHome/tabid/113/Default.aspx

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