Mind you, despite
requests, we have not been told who made complaints or
what the specific complaints were or on what topics.
The NSTA exhibition
hall will be filled with multinational corporations giving away
professionally created, teacher-friendly free materials on issues
ranging from GM foods and the benefits of meat to the magic of timber
reforestation and the foolishness of worrying about issues such
as global warming or the use of more and more pesticides.
need to hear all viewpoints it is incumbent that science teachers
explain the complexities of environmental issues.
corporate interests have the right to distribute their take on environmental
concerns, it is naïve to think that certain corporations, some
with dubious environmental histories, are not using dubious facts
or misleading data to push their own self-interested agendas. Here
is their chance to sell their message for free, in the most respected
arena of learning: the classroom.
Why would NSTA
refuse those who peaceably gather to be permitted to agree to disagree
with certain corporations?
questions certain industry science not just as myths,
but as overt bias or even downright lies. Sharon Beder writes in
the book, "Global Spin,": The ascendancy of the
PR industry and the collapse of American participatory democracy
are the same phenomenon.
Beder has inspired
me to take questions to the NSTA, and to ask teachers, Do
you know all sides of the issue? Or do you only know the version
you are carrying in that free curriculum guide, video or poster
you just received for free from Corporation X?"
is the foundation of education as well as the foundation of democracy.
Without free speech, citizens are refused the opportunity to "hear
all sides" -- especially in our growing list of environmental
The likes of
Beder, Sheila Harty, Ralph Nader, Alex Molnar, Gary Ruskin and others
(all opponents of the flood of corporate sponsored materials in
schools) share a similar philosophy that the Native Forest Councils
HONEST Education Campaign seeks to bring to San Diego.
Pervasive advertising in schools, specially crafted into slick educational
materials, too often carry misleading or flawed science. Too often
these materials bypass any screening systems in schools, blurring
the line between education and marketing.
While this corporate
agenda is transparent to many, it is gathering momentum. Their strategy
is well defined. Future generations will be ultimate consumers,
future voters. It behooves these corporations to downplay environmental
concerns, assert they're all exaggerated, and corporations are unfairly
being portrayed as villains by chicken little environmental
The most critical
piece of this coporate agenda is selling the notion that social
and environmental problems can be solved by purchasing corporate
services and products;corporate science will guide us
to a sustainable future. With their coporate warchests multinationals
have unlimited ability to produce slick ads on television, and to
give free materials to schools. As we have always see and are seeing
to an even greater degree today, they often have unlimited access
to members of Congress or the White House, so they present a formidable
How can one
challenge the growing corporate influence in schools? How can one
have a debate on these subjects with other teachers? How can David,
with only a small rock in his sack, challenge Goliath when the NSTA
declares that speech which questions their corporate backers will
not be permitted at their events? In other words, what do we do
with the NSTA opposes free speech?
have told me that we will be drowned out in San Diego.
The corporations have too much money, too much access and too much
power.But the question I ask in return is always the same.
Who will challenge the tobacco industry-type lies Who will help
teachers access credible and objective science, data which comes
with no financial interest or strings attached?Who will stand up
for the children?"
One man with courage is a majority. the Children for
an HONEST Educational Campaign is building a team with courage,
of concerned teachers, parents and citizens who will speak out against
the manipulation of children. Children deserve sound environmental
education, not overt commercialism in our schools.
King once said:
asks the question, 'Is it safe?'Expediency asks the question,
'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 's it popular?'But,
conscience asks the question, 'Is it right.'And there comes a
time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic,
nor popular, but one must take it because ones conscience
tells one that it is right.
for an HONEST Education Campaign and the Native Forest Council
knows the time is right: the truth must be discussed and in the
of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions.
It is the one un-American act that can most easily defeat us.
We will carry
this powerful message of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
to San Diego. We will take his thoughts, the best interests of children
and teachers and the comfort of the first amendment -- free speech
-- to San Diego. It is this free speech certain corporate polluters
-- who flood schools with their propaganda -- fear most.
John F. Borowski has been teaching Marine Science, Environmental
Biology and Earth Science for 21 years at North Salem High in Salem,
Oregon. John F. Borowski 541-929-5224 email@example.com
John Borowski and Tim Hermach of the Native Forest
Council and their education program: Children for an HONEST Education
Call 541-929-5224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
to reach John F. Borowski. Call 541-688-2600 or www.forestcouncil.org
to reach Tim Hermach. Tim Hermach has been fighting to protect our
nations public lands for over 20 years and John Borowski has
been teaching environmental education for over 23 years. And their
goals are one in the same: a livable planet for our children, access
to honest education materials and an ecologically caring and knowledgeable
Also by John