This is an update on a post that I wrote two months ago regarding Scholastic's coal curriculum. Back in May, the publishing house came under fire for distributing an energy curriculum to schools that was sponsored by the coal industry. According to several watchdog groups, the curriculum presented a one-sided view of the pros of coal without any mention of the energy source's potential negative effects to environmental and human health.
In response, Scholastic has downsized its InSchool marketing division and appointed a new review board to vet current and future materials. Almost immediately after red flags were raised, Scholastic pulled the coal curriculum off the shelves and said it would review all material coming out of its Scholastic's InSchool program. According to the program's website, it focused on “curriculum-connected, free educational programs, including behavioral change, pro-social, cause marketing, brand awareness, and consumer loyalty programs, with support from corporations, organizations, and government agencies.”
Since then, advocacy groups have collected more than 56,000 signatures for a petition urging Scholastic to stop distributing corporate-sponsored classroom material. The company has already pulled some of its more controversial materials — such as the one sponsored by Microsoft that gives kids reward points for completing Microsoft searches online; and material that somehow or another featured Playmobile's small plastic figures as part of the lesson. But some others — such as one about the health benefits of eating eggs, sponsored by the American Egg Board — will continue.
Scholastic announced that the company was forming a partner review board to vet current and future InSchool material. The board will be comprised of a curriculum editor, a teacher, a school administrator, a child psychologist and a parenting expert.