Now appearing in a public-school classroom near you: Lessons from Big Oil

Jun 18, 2017

Credit Eben McCue / StateImpact Oklahoma

For decades, the oil and gas industry has been promoting the benefits of fossil fuels in America’s public-school classrooms.

As StateImpact Oklahoma reports, companies like BP and Shell have spent millions of dollars on K-12 curricula, speakers, and after-school programs, all designed to paint oil, gas, and coal in a rosy light.

For example, one oil-industry-sponsored  national curriculum program teaches kids that it’s too early to know if the earth is heating up.

The program adds that “a little warming might be a good thing.”

Part of the programs’ success can be attributed to meager public school funding in states like Oklahoma and Ohio. Teachers strapped for resources are more likely to accept free curriculums from Big Oil—even if the corporations are sneaking in industry propaganda along with the science.

Glenn Branch of the National Center for Science Education says teachers often feel pressure to promote the prevailing notions in their communities, regardless of their scientific accuracy.