BP: “My Kids Loved it!”

BP in your children’s minds.

ICh. 8 Sept 10

Sounding more like an ad for McDonalds than a teacher, a member of the State’s Curriculum Commission summed up the mood in California about the influence of BP on our educational system, saying: “My kids loved it!”

One of the key elements of the BP-Berkeley deal, one that was difficult to express to the public in the haze of the moment as the deal was being rammed-through, is their express interest in having direct involvement in the principles and contents of what children are taught about BP and its activities in the world.  The agreement with Berkeley contains a section through which Berkeley gives access to BP enough to shape not only research and development plans at the higher levels of the educational system, but also our key role as crafters of the science curriculum for K-12.

Now Rick Daysog at the Sacramento Bee documents the inclusion of BP in the deepest levels of curriculum design, as BP employees (and PG&E’s too) were given seats in the State’s Curriculum Commission to produce “more than 13,000 pages of teaching material about the environment for science, social studies and history courses”, to be used by more than 1,000 school districts.  We should expect these principles to be adopted by other states.

We live at times when burning food in people’s gas tanks is considered a virtue, destroying whole sections of an ocean just part of risk-benefit assessments in a business plan.  Only in these times could I begin to understand how such a retrograde educational move could even be considered possible, let alone be enacted.  But perhaps the fact that BP would wield its power in places and ways that favour its business should not be surprising as the march continues towards the complete identification between corporations and government. Left only are the cold shivers of observing the response to the news by people who would comment on the Sacrament Bee’s website.  For example, one of the respondents who did not directly accuse, like several others, the SacBee for daring to talk about the subject, asked him/herself:

“Why would anyone think that people who work for BP are not capable and qualified to help define environmental education curriculum?”

Indeed – why would anyone even need to think about this?  And why would anyone need a newspaper to even mention it?


Ignacio Chapela

Thanks to Ali Tonak for the link.

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