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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Student presses for balanced curriculum

A Rhinebeck, NY high school sophomore complained to the school board of her school's district that controversial topics are being presented in a biased manner. As an example she mentioned the showing of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" in her English and Science classes.

Michelle Dewkett pointed out that they watched the film for a week and then were tested specifically on how global warming is being caused by human activity and that unchecked AGW will kill us all.

I first saw this story on Fox and Friends this morning. The segment can be accessed through this link:

Balanced Curriculum? (Fox News)

My first thought hearing this was 'why is this movie being shown in an English class?' Unless the students were being asked to critique Mr. Gore's grammar or presentation style, the only reason that this film could be shown in an English class is to promote an agenda. Miss Dewkett points out that showing just one side of the issue and the showing of this in a class in which the topic is not part of the curriculum violates school district policy.

Student seeks balance in teaching of controversial topics (Daily Freeman)
Michelle Dewkett said the global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” was being shown in science and English classes without equal weight being given to other positions on the topic.

“As of now, the teaching of controversial topics is out of control,” Dewkett told members of the Board of Education on Tuesday. She also said the district is not following its own policy of providing students with a wide range of materials.

Dewkett cited a class on global warming as an example, saying the effects of human activity on the environment are not being balanced with information about the natural course of changes on Earth.

“It says (global warming) will kill us all without offering any alternative views throughout high school,” she said. “This goes against board policy which
states ‘Teachers shall approach controversial topics in an impartial and unprejudiced manner.’”

Dewkett also questioned the showing of “An Inconvenient Truth” as part of an English course, saying district policy states that “material will not be introduced for their own sake and must be part of normal instruction.”

Alarmists will accuse Miss Dewkett of pressing an agenda especially in saying that she wished she heard from commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. I dismiss this presumed accusation. Limbaugh and Hannity stressing an issue does not make it untrue. Both have stated frequently that they will gladly debate the issues. Al Gore, on the other hand, makes a statement and refuses to debate or discuss it even after he is shown to be incorrect.

One of the comments at the end of the article asks if an alternate view should be presented if only a small number of scientists disagree with the so-called facts.
Should Rhinebeck include a lesson that teaches "less than 1% of scientists, mostly in the employ of fossil fuel or religious institutions, and none who tested with methods or got results that could be independently reproduced consistently, disagree with the information you were taught yesterday?" Because from an academic perspective, those are the facts. There would only be academic controversy if some semblance of balance existed in the numbers of deniers or the replicability of their results. (Steve Greenfield)

The statement by Mr. Greenfield is unequivocally false. The article was published December 25th. The e-mail scandal from East Anglia University clearly shows at least the potential for academic controversy and dishonesty if not out-right fraud. Well known climate experts have been questioning the conclusions of the AGW crowd for at least two years now. I am not talking about corporate scientists but academics such as Drs. William Gray, Richard Lindzen, John Coleman (founder of The Weather Channel) and many other meteorologists.

Thousands of scientists have signed documents and letters to Congress stating that the science is not settled and that CO2 is neither a pollutant nor the cause of increasing global temperatures. Current data shows that global temperatures as measured by satellite have remained steady or decreased since 1998.

It is clear that this issue is not settled. The global warming alarmists have focused on a plan of action that includes indoctrination of our youth to push their agenda. It is good to see a young person such as Miss Dewkett thinking for herself and having the courage to present the issue to the school board to be addressed.

For their part, the School Board stated that this will be addressed next week after everyone returns from the holiday. It will be good to see the board take an intellectually honest approach and recognize where the schools overstepped and take the appropriate steps that ensure that the approved curriculum is followed rather a one-sided indoctrination of the students to meet an agenda.

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