No thanks Al, we'll stick with the tiger

When Laurie David approached the National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA) to offer 50,000 free DVD copies of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth she was surpised by the answer: “Thanks but no thanks.” In a recent Washington Post editorial titled “Science a la Joe Camel,” David, who is one of the producers on Gore's movie, explains that the rebuke was due to concern over that other “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.” Any guesses about who those “targetted supporters” might be? I know, it's getting old, but I'm sure you guessed it: ExxonMobil.

And according to David, “Exxon Mobil isn't the only one getting in on the action. Through textbooks, classroom posters and teacher seminars, the oil industry, the coal industry and other corporate interests are exploiting shortfalls in education funding by using a small slice of their record profits to buy themselves a classroom soapbox.”


Considering that the Washington Post editorial itself is authored by Laurie David, I will take this op-ed with a large grain of salt. Of course Exxon is to blame. When aren’t they? The whole op-ed is a slander on the NSTA and Exxon. Laurie David only provides her own self-interested, and self promotional take on this issue. By the innuendo amply supplied by David in the article, any charitable donation by any company is suspect. Let people rent An Inconvenient Truth on their own, but it is really is too political to be used in the classroom.

Which part of Gore's movie was political exactly? And please don't go down the old conspiracy theory path, it's really getting old.

Stephen, the approval process for any material used in the classroom is long and detailed. But Laurie David is different. She wants HER movie IMMEDIATELY placed in classrooms across the nation. It was only released on DVD 5 days ago for god’s sake. Thankfully the National Science Teachers Association had the good sense to say no. I suspect their reasoning is much more solid, balanced and detailed then her one dimensional diatribe lets on. And Kevin, the only “old conspiracy theory path” is the inevitable Exxon Oil connection espoused by Laurie David. They’re everywhere!!!! That she would publicly and unfairly smear the National Science Teachers Association though, is the saddest part of this whole self-promotional fiasco.

Regarding your previous rant:

“Let people rent An Inconvenient Truth on their own, but it is really is too political to be used in the classroom.”

Nowhere in the NSTA press release you cited did the NSTA refer to “An Inconvenient Truth” as being too political for classroom use. They state that the film is useful for its scientific exploration of the issue and that they welcome the availability of the film for viewing by students. However, they reject the call for mandatory viewing of the film in the classroom.

Paul G., you’ve completely discombobulated your argument on this issue.

If “An Inconvenient Truth” is “too political for the classroom,” then so is the book “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Right then, now Paul, draft up a letter asking to ban “To Kill A Mockingbird” from the classroom. Let’s see how far you get!

Laurie David had requested that the NSTA to distribute 50,000 DVDs of “An Inconvenient Truth” to all their members as part of their packet for the National Conference on Science Education. Everyone else who wants to make information available to NSTA members, even other government agencies (like the Department of Energy, NASA, NOAA, etc.) have to rent booth space at the Conference. This option was made available to Ms. David. The NSTA has a policy, implemented in 2001 that prohibits product endorsement and distribution of third party materials to its members without their consent. In order to uphold this policy, and still make the information and education opportunities in this film and others like it available to science educators, the NSTA made a counter offer to Ms. David. This offer would open up the availability of the DVD to more than 5 times the number of people originally asked for by Ms. David. The offer, which is posted on the website lists the other options offered: Providing a link on the NSTA website that will enable teachers to obtain their free copy of the DVD (site has 2 million page views per month) Make the NSTA mailing list available for purchase. Announce the availability of the DVD in two publications and the NSTA weekly email (email alone has 250,000 circ.) Create an online message board that focuses on global warming accessible worldwide. And even offered to have former VP Al Gore attend the conference as a featured speaker a with web cast for people who could not attend. I think someone in the David camp is trying to use political pressure and not reason to promote their message.