A controversial pro-plastics section has been removed from a proposed environmental curriculum in California, according to a report by California Watch. Last year California Watch had reported that Gerald Lieberman, a private consultant hired by California school officials, added a new section to the 11th-grade teachers' edition textbook called "The Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags," with the title and some of the textbook language inserted almost verbatim from letters written by the American Chemistry Council. In the wake of that disclosure, the state Environmental Protection Agency took another look at the proposed curriculum, which is part of a statewide K-12 curriculum on the environment. In a follow-up story posted last week, Suzanne Rust of California Watch reported that the curriculum has been rewritten. The lesson (PDF) "no longer includes a section titled, 'The Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags,' and it incorporates more recent and relevant recycling statistics," she wrote. The story quotes Bryan Ehlers, Cal/EPA's assistant secretary for education and quality programs, who said: "We went back and looked at the whole unit and really picked through it with a fine-tooth comb." "Our concern always with the curriculum was to ensure integrity and accuracy," Ehlers said. In "Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags" workbook section had asked students to list some advantages of plastic bags. The correct answer, according to the teachers' edition, was: "Plastic shopping bags are very convenient to use. They take less energy to manufacture than paper bags, cost less to transport and can be reused." California Watch is an initiative of the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Pro-plastic lesson removed from school curriculum
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