School board meetings are the choicest venues to stage a culture war this side of the O'Reilly Factor. The best battles, of course, pit religion against science, faith against fact. And just when you thought this struggle was going stale, here comes Al Gore and his global warming docu-drama An Inconvenient Truth. A national uproar has ensued after Seattle suburb resident Frosty (sic) Hardison wrote in a letter to his local school board, "No you will not teach or show that propagandist Al Gore video to my child, blaming our nation--the greatest nation ever to exist on this planet--for global warming." The board quickly imposed a "moratorium" on showing the video, and was then flooded with thousands of phone calls and emails from scientists around the country lambasting its decision. Almost makes you want to throw in the towel on common schools. But a common-sense solution is at hand for this case, as it is for many like it. Science class is for science; here, that means presenting the scientific consensus that climate change is happening, as well as the uncertainties about how much of it is caused by people and what can be done to alter it. As for the other battles--well, that's what current events class and debate club are for.
"Gore Film Sparks Parents' Anger," by Blaine Harden, Washington Post, January 25, 2007