Coal Curriculum

The Coal Education Program:

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (IDCEO)  uses taxpayer money to push coal on our kids – right in Illinois classrooms.  Through its Coal Education and Marketing Program, whose businesslike title could alone articulate how controlled it is by big energy, the IDCEO puts out education material entitled “From the Coal Mines to the Power Lines”. While this study of coal may initially sound to be legitimate curriculum, it is actually a publicly funded marketing tool for the coal industry that disgracefully targets schoolchildren.

A coalition of Illinois students, including UCAN and CYCC, protesting against the coal curriculum.

In its materials, IDCEO tries to pass coal industry talking points off as fact – including the outright falsehood that “the evidence is not clear that the combustion of fossil fuels has led to a warming climate”. Absolutely no mention is made of coal’s devastating and well established impacts on our land, air, water and health in Illinois and around the world.

Instead of acknowledging the transition to cleaner, cheaper alternative energy sources that is already underway, IDCEO attempts to pull the wool over children’s eyes, insisting that coal is the fuel of the future. Illinois students deserve school time free of the political ideologies of any organization.

What We’re Doing

 As students, UCAN and CYCC (Chicago Youth Climate Coalition), a coalition of college students from across Chicago, can offer a relevant voice to issues over school curriculum. Our members have participated in a state-wide lobbying day to convince the Illinois Legislature and Governor Quinn about the problems with the state-curriculum.

In May of 2012 (pictures above), UCAN participated with the larger Chicago community in a Coal Curriculum Action to send our state-wide representatives the message that it is time to end this unacademic program.  With all of these efforts, we hope that students across Illinois can learn that the use of coal is not a one sided issue – to at least hear the scientific view that the fumes from these plants make the air they breathe less healthy to breathe.

If you’d like to get involved with this campaign, or would like more information, contact Caroline Wooten at: