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Keith Dannemiller teachers to teach children, a proper respect for the folklore of free enterprise. And the Legislature has furthered the cause by mandating instruction in “the essentials and benefits of free enterprise” and “the American economic system” for all Texas public school students, but’ appropriating no state funds to pay for it. Through this gap in the education budget, companies like Houston Natural Gas Corporation have entered the classroom with armloads of sophisticated teaching aids that make a simple equation between their business practices and free enterprise principles. Last year, for instance, Houston Natural Gas alone spent about $14,000 on such “educational materials” for 23 school districts in Harris and Galveston counties, trained a group of 50 employees to go into the schools as “business resource persons” and spread the word, and sponsored a free enterprise theme-writing contest for high school students, with Houston Natural Gas stock as the prize. “Texas mandates economic education in the secondary schools,” said Richard Tuttle, HNG’s public relations manager, “but we felt this area needed more attention. Somebody had to take the initiative.” Texas is one of 18 states that now require some form of economic instruction \(ten, including Texas, prescribe it for grades one to twelve; the others specify it for high schools lic funding falls short. A New York-based consumer evaluation service for educational products reports that schools nationwide spend an average of only 1 percent of their budgets on instructional materials, although more than 90 percent of classroom time is spent using them. It’s a situation made to order for business missionaries, and, like HNG, they’re taking good advantage of it. Spearheading the corporate campaign is the United States Chamber of Commerce, and the key element in its educational effort is a two-part audiovisual kit called “Economics for Young Americans, Phases I and II.” Each “phase” contains four filmstrips and matching cassettes, accompanied by teachers’ guides. There are also master copies of “activity sheets” that offer projects and questions designed to reinforce the appreciation of business virtues and accomplishments instilled in captive schoolroom audiences by the sound-and-film show. Through its network of local chamber affiliates, the national chamber has placed “Economics for Young Americans, Phase I” in 15,000 of the nation’s secondary schools. “Phase II” kits are now in 3,000 high schools. The goalaccording to a chamber bulletin entitled “Hats Off . . . To American Business!”is “coverage of every school system in the nation by the end of 1978.” “Every chamber in the state of Texas is involved,” boasts Bob Moxley, the national chamber’s director of promotion and chief of the program, adding that he already has three-quarters of the nation “done.” He sells the kits for $35 or $40 apiece to corporate sponsors and nonprofit, “nonpolitical” educational foundations, which then distribute them to the schools through local chambers of commerce and trade associations The local folks are enlisted, according to Nation’s Business magazine, to help “persuade teachers, principals, and school boards to use the kits as part of the curriculum in economics and related subjects.” By this method, Gulf Oil Foundation has channeled $42,000 worth of Moxley’s kits to San Antonio, where distribution has been particularly thorough thanks to the Free Enterprise Council of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and to most of the rest of Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. Gulf Oil places the kits “wherever they have not already been provided,” according to Alexander Louis Jr., the foundation’s president. Among the corporate philanthropists already providing them are: California Gas Company, Pacific Gas THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3