It seems that David extended an offer of some 50,000 copies of the DVD to the NSTA for distribution to their member science teachers to show as a part of their curriculum. The offer was refused. Now you might wonder what type of problems an association of science teachers might have with this presentation – over half of which is filled with charts and data that, if presented in any other form, would have most of the movie going public sound asleep before the opening credits ended. Well, according to David’s article, ”In their e-mail rejection, they expressed concern that other "special interests" might ask to distribute materials, too; they said they didn't want to offer "political" endorsement of the film; and they saw "little, if any, benefit to NSTA or its members" in accepting the free DVDs.” David is quick to point out that Al Gore is not running for any political office and, as far as “special interests” are concerned, among the primary endorsers of this documentary are climate change SCIENTISTS and the governments of Sweden and Norway where the film is already part of the required science curriculum. As far as questioning the “benefits” of receiving FREE DVDs complete with well-documented scientific research…well, you get the point. Perhaps there was still another reason for the rejection.
” But there was one more curious argument in the e-mail: Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place "unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters." One of those supporters, it turns out, is the Exxon Mobil Corp…” “…NSTA says it has received $6 million from the company since 1996, mostly for the association's "Building a Presence for Science" program, an electronic networking initiative intended to "bring standards-based teaching and learning" into schools, according to the NSTA Web site. Exxon Mobil has a representative on the group's corporate advisory board. And in 2003, NSTA gave the company an award for its commitment to science education…” Bingo! But wait; there’s more. ” NSTA's list of corporate donors also includes Shell Oil and the American Petroleum Institute (API), which funds NSTA's Web site on the science of energy. There, students can find a section called "Running on Oil" and read a page that touts the industry's environmental track record -- citing improvements mostly attributable to laws that the companies fought tooth and nail, by the way -- but makes only vague references to spills or pollution. NSTA has distributed a video produced by API called "You Can't Be Cool Without Fuel," a shameless pitch for oil dependence.”
Cut to the chase. What can you do? As Sara Robinson concludes: ”Memo to parents: It might be time to find out if your kids' science teachers are members of this group, and have a word with them about it. If you -- or the teachers -- want to complain directly to the NSTA, the complaint form is here. They need to hear from everyone who still thinks that scientific truth shouldn't be auctioned off to the highest donor.” You might also care to drop a line to Laurie David (email@example.com) to say thanks – first for helping bring “An Inconvenient Truth” to the American public but also for sharing this information about a fundamental flaw in the education system in this country.
Chad (The Left) Shue