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Don’t Send Your Kids To School in Federal Way! January 13, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in life, science.

I don’t read the comics any more because real life is more entertaining.

My wife heard about this at the recent AAPT meeting here in Seattle. The link was sent along by her brother in Vancouver: the Federal Way school board has put a moratorium on showing Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, in the schools. This happened after Frosty Hardison, a parent, sent in a complaint.

“Condoms don’t belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He’s not a schoolteacher,” said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. “The information that’s being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. … The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn’t in the DVD.”

Burn up!? As Paula said, “you can’t make this stuff up!” David Larson, the member of the school board that proposed this, gave as his reason:

“Somebody could say you’re killing free speech, and my retort to them would be we’re encouraging free speech,” said Larson, a lawyer. “The beauty of our society is we allow debate.”

Again. I’m not making this stuff up!

School Board members adopted a three-point policy that says teachers who want to show the movie must ensure that a “credible, legitimate opposing view will be presented,” that they must get the OK of the principal and the superintendent, and that any teachers who have shown the film must now present an “opposing view.”

Apparently they haven’t gotten the memo from the US government: we are affecting the climate! Sheesh! You’ll find someone to disagree with just about everything taught in school (can anyone say American History?). That is why science is so cool. It tells you when it believes itself and when it doesn’t. And better, it usually will tell you how much weight to give to each side of the argument. Could it be that global warming doesn’t exist? Sure! The chances of that? Really really small. Certainly too small to be teaching it with equal weight in any self-respecting school.

This would be funny if it weren’t so serious (Federal Way is a fairly sizable city just south of Seattle). And now that I have a kid I find I care about this sort of thing a little bit more than I used it…

Also, under the topic of you can’t make this stuff up was seen the following leader paragraph in the NYTimes:

The senior Pentagon official in charge of military detainees suspected of terrorism said in an interview this week that he was dismayed that lawyers at many of the nation’s top firms were representing prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and that the firms’ corporate clients should consider ending their business ties.

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