Thursday, January 11, 2007


The Seattle Post-Intelligencer today reported that the Federal Way School District has restricted the showing of "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's documentary on global warming, requiring that if it is shown it must be accompanied by an opposing viewpoint. They have invoked a district policy which requires teaching of 'controversial' materials to present both sides on an argument. Ironically, the movie's point is to demonstrate that there is no debate within the scientific community about the validity of global warming and human contributions; that is well-accepted. Indeed, the Union of Concerned Scientists recently issued a report on how Exxon has spent $16 million to mislead the public into believing the existence of a controversy over global warming despite the lack of such a controversy in the scientific community.

The school's policy is also clearly in bad faith. Almost every school has some form of anti-drug education, whether that be the DARE program or something similar, but presents no counterpoint. Decriminalization of drugs is certainly a much debated issue; one leading proponent is former Seattle Chief of Police Norm Stamper. The point is that the district's policy of teaching both sides of a controversy is utterly flawed. As with creationism, we needn't teach a non-scientific view in a science class; this is entirely a ploy by someone who is entirely out-of-touch with reality (to see just HOW out-of-touch, refer to the Seattle P-I article).

Want to do something? Here is the contact information for the relevant parties in the Federal Way School District. Write to them and share your thoughts on the current policy. When it's one teacher versus one parent, that is a controversy. When it's one parent versus the entire Seattle-Tacoma region, well, that adds a little perspective. Remember to be polite, articulate, and to the point!

  • Tom Murphy -

    School Board Members:
  • Ed Barney - (President)
  • David Larson - (Vice-President)
  • Charles Hoff -
  • Evelyn Castellar -
  • Thomas Madden -
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