Why School is Not so Cool

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) rejected an offering of 50,000 DVDs of Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, saying they did not want to give a “political endorsement of the film.” Yet NSTA has previously accepted and distributed the film “You Can’t Be Cool Without Fuel”, which promotes oil dependence, from the American Petroleum Institute.

Writing in the Washington Post, producer Laurie David notes that ExxonMobil has given NSTA $6 million. The American Petroleum Institute and Shell Oil have also made contributions.

Apparently NSTA did not want to “risk” the wrath of “certain targeted supporters” by accepting the gift. So It appears that even elementary-level science has been infiltrated and influenced by oil interests, similar to the Joe Camel campaign in the 1980s.

David’s conclusion:

It’s hard to say whether NSTA is a bad guy here or just a sorry victim of tight education budgets. And we don’t pretend that a two-hour movie is a substitute for a rigorous science curriculum. Students should expect, and parents should demand, that educators present an honest and unbiased look at the true state of knowledge about the challenges of the day.


Today’s students are, after all, the ones who are going to suffer most the harsh realities of climate change in the coming decades. How sad that special interest sponsorship can turn respected establishments into puppets of global warming deniers.

While it may be an”inconvenient truth” for some, the truth is that we can design policies to be cool without using so much fossil fuel.