Could environmental education be crossing into environmental indoctrination? Some critics say yes, as schools boast that such curricula simply is teaching children ways of caring for the earth.
Being a "good" student at Western Avenue Elementary School in Flossmoor, Ill., means more than just doing reading, writing and arithmetic well. It also means trying to save the planet.
"It's really important to help the earth and save the polar bears," 9-year-old Duree Everett said, as she colored a "go green" sign at her desk.
I've seen it myself, in my substitute teaching. In one school I have subbed at extensively, the entire student body, in the daily morning assembly in the cafeteria, was treated to a presentation by some 5th graders scare-mongering about global warming.
I have no problem teaching students about conservation, about not littering, about recycling and about being water-conscious, but I draw the line at pushing unproven environmental theory as hard fact.
Turn off the TV and the lights when you're leaving the room for a while. Don't go off and leave the water running. Recycling metals, plastics and papers reduces the amount of stuff we have to put into landfills, and some parts of the country are hard-pressed to get more space to expand existing ones, or to start new ones. But I just don't buy into the expansion into "people are killing the polar bears by driving SUVs" and talking about carbon footprints.
Just be aware of what schools are teaching your kids... And I say this as a certified teacher.