Colleges are not the only ones to blame. Top mining expert, Dr. William H. Dresher, speaking recently in Arizona, declared, “in a decade of judging Arizona state science fairs, I have never seen an exhibit addressing geology, mining, or metallurgy. What is worse, it is hard to find a school that teaches science, let alone discusses engineering!” Astonishingly, this is in Arizona, the nation’s largest copper producer. Dr. Mary M. Poulton, Chair of the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering at the University of Arizona, reports only one-third of U.S. high schools have a one year course in earth science, mostly astronomy, in which only seven percent of high school students enroll.
As Michael Sanera and Jane S. Shaw reveal in Facts Not Fear: Teaching Children About the Environment (Regnery 1999), schools do a marvelous job turning children into nonsense spouting Chicken Littles. Unsurprisingly, it is not just the facts about the environment that schools fail to teach; they are oblivious to fundamental facts regarding the building blocks of modern civilization, such as, “if it can’t be grown, it has to be mined.” No wonder, with children totally ignorant as to the need for raw materials—not to mention their source—that few youth entering high school consider a career in energy development or mining.
No wonder coeds who attend gubernatorial debates worry about their job prospects.