What’s up, NSTA?

This is a troubling development, and perhaps some members of the National Science Teachers Association in the readership here know something about it. They seem to be in the pocket of the oil industry.

In tomorrow?s Washington Post, global warming activist Laurie David writes about her effort to donate 50,000 free DVD copies of An Inconvenient Truth (which she co-produced) to the National Science Teachers Association. The Association refused to accept the DVDs:

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. ?

[T]here 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.?

As it turns out, those supporters already include ?special interests,? including Exxon-Mobil, Shell Oil, and the American Petroleum Institute, which have given millions in funding to the NSTA.

This is not merely an attempt to avoid entanglement in a “controversial” (not that global warming is actually controversial among scientists), since the article mentions that the NSTA has distributed PR for the oil companies. I like the NSTA and I read their newsletter…but this sounds like they’ve been bought and paid for by Exxon-Mobil, and it casts an unfortunate shadow on their reputation. Can we please have a science advocacy group we can trust?

I like the way Sara Robinson’s mind works.

Memo to the Christian Coalition: The NSTA is for sale. For a mere million bucks a year, I’ll bet you could get them on board with Intelligent Design, too.

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.