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Plastic Bag Curriculum Controversy

Aired 10/4/11 on KPBS News.

It’s billed as a national model, California’s K-12 environmental curriculum. It’s designed to prepare students to become future scientists and green technology leaders. Now part of one lesson plan is under attack by some environmentalists.

As originally reported by the online investigative publication California Watch, Part of a lesson about plastic bags was written almost verbatim by the American Chemistry Council, a lobby group that includes the plastics industry.

Brian Ehlers from California EPA, the agency in charge of developing the lesson plan, said that the controversy shouldn't obscure what is positive about the curriculum

“So it consists of 85 units, roughly 1,000 lessons that are spread out over K-12, they are science and history, which are designed to increase the environmental literacy, the environmental awareness of students,” said Ehlers.

An online petition calling for the removal of the industry language, has gathered 30,000 signatures. California EPA stated the lesson plan is under review and could be revised.

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