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National Science Teachers of America Exxon

Laurie David, one of the producers of An Inconvenient Truth, wrote a piece for today’s Washington Post describing her efforts to make 50,000 DVD copies of that movie available to America’s science teachers through NSTA. They said no. And, more weirdly, they explained why.

Read the rest here. Horrifying. Go here to tell them what you think.


  1. #1 JD
    November 26, 2006

    Ugh, how disgusting. Here’s the comment I sent(to the NSTA Exec. office, under position statements – can someone think of a better recipient for our emails?):

    As I hope you are aware, Laurie David in today’s Washington Post has shared your decline of her offer of 50,000 An Inconvenient Truth DVDs. This is incredibly unfortunate, for every reason. Firstly, I apparently have been mistaken; I never once considered the scientific consensus on global warming to be a special interest group. I was also unaware that, as a private organization, accepting a donation from one interest group legally bound you to accept it from other interest groups.

    Does ExxonMobil count as a special interest group regarding global warming?

    It was also said that there was little benefit to be had from accepting the DVDs. The NSTA is in the business of education, is it not? Surely, free movies on climate, supported by climatologists, would educate, would it not?

    Now, the most reprehensible of excuses, that companies which may not like this movie, will pull their funding. Everything else ignored, this tells everyone one thing: you are willing to sacrifice education for funding. I’ll repeat this, because it bears repeating, a thousand-fold:

    You are selling out the minds of children.

    Do you understand that? How does that not make you sick with yourselves? You are an organization of science teachers, supposedly dedicated to teaching science, and you sacrifice your morals, your reputation, and most importantly, the education of children, for funding.

    I know, I know. You think that accepting large sums of money will help you do more good in other scenarios, if not this one. You can’t do anything at all if you can’t pay the bills. What I want to know, what I simply must know: what makes you deserve it? If you cannot be relied upon to sacrifice funding for scientific integrity, what good are you as a scientific teaching organization? I assume the premise of your association was to enhance the teaching of science to students. When did you turn your back on that? Where is your scientific integrity?

  2. #2 Brian
    November 26, 2006

    I’m going to agree with their decision for somewhat divergent reasons. I do agree though that AIT was made by a special interest group (Al Gore’s special interest) and does not present it’s message without hellfire/brimstone type passion-mongering, and does not strike me as a great “presentation of science.”

    Our kids would be much better served with a well designed chapter in their textbook or a visit to a weather station with a well prepared presentation on the topic rather than a 2 hour (or however long) political film. The most important thing we need to be telling kids is that no we don’t completely understand what’s going on or why and no we don’t completely understand the consequences of our feedback into he system and it’s an import thing because we’re having a solid effect on climate so yes Jimmy you should become a climatologist to help save the world.

    It’s as important to me to keep Al Gore out of the classroom as it is to keep the creationists out; in my mind they are cut from the same cloth.

  3. #3 Michael Hopkins
    November 26, 2006

    I will have to agree with the NSTA decision. The movie clearly has political overtones that a non-political organization should stay out of. That other organizations will want the same treatment is also a concern. The simplest way would be a “no” to all.

    If Ms. David wants to send copies of the movie to science teachers, why not simply send them directly? Surely who the science teachers of this country are is no big secret. If not, how much does it cost to rent an appropriate mailing list for one non-profit mailing?

  4. #4 JYB
    November 26, 2006

    I’m a science teacher. Tell her to send a copy to me. Frankly, we’re so broke we’re in no position to reject anything. I would take something from Exxon too. In both cases though I’d pick and choose what I show. That’s where the “teaching” comes in.

  5. #5 Caledonian
    November 27, 2006

    That other organizations will want the same treatment is also a concern. The simplest way would be a “no” to all.

    Ah, but the NSTA isn’t going to stop taking money from Exxon, is it?

  6. #6 drcharles
    November 27, 2006

    holy crap. it just keeps getting worse. thanks for linking to this important bit of news.

  7. #7 JanieBelle and Kate
    November 28, 2006

    In the interest of full disclosure, allow me to first state that my anonymous tipster originated in Ft. Worth TX from behind an NSTA firewall….

    However, the provided information would seem valuable.

    The official NSTA response as found in the pressroom of their site.

    You can read the anonymous comment at my blog, here.

  8. #8 Ellen
    November 28, 2006

    Probably only fair to post the NSTA response:


    Not taking sides; just suggesting that scientists shouldn’t accept everything at face value.

  9. #9 coturnix
    November 28, 2006

    Thank you.

  10. #10 JanieBelle and Kate
    November 29, 2006

    You’re welcome, Coturnix. Always happy to help a fellow Nawth Carolinian.

  11. #11 Drake Milton
    November 29, 2006

    “NSTA policy states that the association cannot endorse any outside organization’s products and/or messages to its members. Therefore, we do not send any such products and/or messages directly to our members, regardless of the source.”

    This isn’t in the NSTA press release any longer´┐Ż where did it go?

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