I have recently learned of Big Sky High School’s annual trip to Japan for some of its students, and of C.S. Porter’s trip to Washington, D.C. For political, social and environmental reasons, I am outraged about these “educational opportunities.”

Last week students held a climate rally, and this week their teachers and school administration are acting as if flying across the Pacific, or across this continent, is justifiable. What it actually teaches students is that continuing to use commercial air traffic is acceptable. Further, it places an undue stress on the many parents who are not making six-figure salaries, relegating them to the status of financial aid recipients, or saddling them with peddling coffee or other donated items to raise funds.

I’m in agreement with these trip planners that traveling is a great learning opportunity. How about taking a bus to the U.S./Mexico border and learning firsthand about immigration policy? How about a trip to our northern neighbor to see how health care and First Nations policies are different or similar to ours? Such trips would encourage learning through how we are connected to others countries. That would beat wasteful tourism by a kilometer or mile.

Alexandra Koelle,


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