“I say ‘what the.’ You say ‘frack.’ What the… frack. What the…frack!” That’s what the Earth Guardian activists chanted with a group of captive children at Evergreen Middle School during a recent “guest speaker” presentation. The teen eco-rappers, invited by the school for a “Day Without Hate” event on tolerance, sang about how hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, has “poisoned the water, poisoned the air, poisoned the people” and is “changing the future of our awesome earth with all the children and animals in it.” View the video here.
Never mind that the method of using pressurized water to release natural gas and oil from deep rock has been around for more than a century. Never mind that peer-reviewed research shows it does not impact ground water. Never mind that the state agency that regulates oil and gas production has determined the impact on wildlife and agricultural land to be minimal. Never mind producers are required by law to protect ground water and to restore the land after the well is finished. In other words, never mind the facts. Let’s rap!
Exposed by media outlet Complete Colorado, the school has decided to send an apology letter to parents with information presenting both sides of hydraulic fracturing so parents can discuss it with their children. Isn’t that was the school was supposed to be doing in the first place, presenting factual information?
Some people seem unclear about the distinction between education and indoctrination. Education means presenting facts from credible sources and when there is controversy, presenting more than one viewpoint. In the case of hydraulic fracturing, there are credible concerns about the noise produced during the loud drilling phrase of the operation and the impact of the process on air quality. Presented with the economic benefits of gas and oil production, the environmental protections currently in place, and legitimate concerns about the drilling process, a student could form her own opinion.
The ends and means of the indoctrination are quite different than education. The means involve distortions, exaggerations and outright lies, claiming natural gas will cause the earth to blow up, for example. The ends of propaganda are unquestioning acceptance. Brainwashing has no place in the classroom. Teachers and principals, the adults in the room, should know the difference.
While it would be tough to fit the words “Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission” into lyrics or rap about irritating noise without sounding ironic, that is what the Earth Guardians would have to do to be considered vaguely educational. Alternatively, the school could consider teaching about hydraulic fracturing the old fashioned way—through actual instruction.
Krista Kafer is executive director of Colorado’s Future Project.