August 18, 2011 Bryan Ehlers

Assistant Secretary Education and Quality Programs

Cal/EPA
1001 I Street P.O. Box 2815 Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: SUGGESTED CHANGES TO EEI CURRICULUM Dear Bryan: I would like to commend you for your efforts in drafting the landmark EEI curriculum. I recognize that the finished product is the result of unprecedented cooperation between various state agencies and that you, Mindy Fox, Linda Adams, Andrea Lewis, Patty Zwarts, and others spent innumerable hours processing testimony and information from scientists, technical experts, environmental agencies, business and industry, etc. The result is comprehensive, visually stunning lessons that will help students understand their relationship with the environment. The curriculum is ageappropriate and very teacher and student friendly. I do have some serious concerns about one section of the curriculum and I am respectfully requesting that you and the State Board of Education consider minor changes. In unit 11.5.7 – Lesson 5 Teacher’s Edition – section IV of the Plastic Bags Lecture Notes is titled: “The Advantages of Plastic Bags” and offers a false choice between paper and plastic bags with no emphasis on cloth or canvas reusable bags. The line in IV a. states: “Plastic grocery bags require 70% less energy to manufacture than paper bags”. I would suggest adding a comment such as: “Many customers in the United States, as they do in Europe and other countries, now bring their own reusable canvas or cloth bags to grocery stores. This will save even more energy and reduce pollution.” Section III. i. of the Plastic Bags Lecture Notes currently states: “In 2007 the city of San Francisco banned the use of plastic shopping bags in large supermarkets and retail pharmacy chains. This law has eliminated the use of an estimated five million plastic bags each month. Currently other cities, counties and states are considering a ban on plastic shopping bags.” This section should be updated to “In 2007…five million plastic bags each month. Other cities and counties in California have

implemented similar plastic bag bans and many other municipalities in our state and elsewhere across the nation are considering a ban on plastic shopping bags.” Question 1 in part 2 of Lesson 5 reads: “What are the advantages of using plastic bags?” The question should be more open ended and not encourage a specific outcome and response from students. I suggest: “What are the advantages and disadvantages of plastic bags?” Thank you for your attention to these suggestions. I hope you agree these changes will make the EEI curriculum more factual. Sincerely, Fran Pavley Senate District 23 cc: Mindy Fox, Assistant Director Cal/EPA Office of Education and the Environment

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