Wednesday, December 06, 2006

NSTA: Teachers Owned by Corporations

Ah, thanks, National Science Teachers Association. I just got an email back from you about your refusal to distribute--for free--"An Inconvenient Truth." Here's what you said:

Dear Colleague:

Thank you for your recent e-mail expressing your opinion about the National Science Teacher Association’s decision in regard to the DVD “An Inconvenient Truth.” We value each and every comment we have received from our members and friends.

First and foremost, we want to ensure that you have the most current and accurate information about the issue. Ms. Laurie David, producer of AIT, asked NSTA to distribute 50,000 copies of the movie to its members. The NSTA Board of Directors stood by its 2001 NSTA policy prohibiting endorsements and decided not to mass distribute the DVD to members without their consent or request because it would constitute an endorsement.

As you will see in the letter that NSTA sent to Ms. David on Thursday, November 30, 2006 ( we provided her with several options to publicize the availability of the DVD to both our members and the wider universe of science educators worldwide via our communication channels. We also invited Mr. Gore to participate at the NSTA National Conference in March.

This information and more is available on our website at We encourage you to read these documents.


Linda Froschauer
President 2006-2007
National Science Teachers Association

Gerald Wheeler
Executive Director
National Science Teachers Association
It's really nice of you to write back, but you still don't explain why it would be an "endorsement" if you simply took the donation of the films. It doesn't explain how that "endorsement" would differ from your two full pages of corporate sponsors (pages 22-23 of your 2003 annual report). It doesn't explain why you take money from Exxon and Chevron, but you refuse a free donation from Laurie David. It doesn't explain how a physical or intellectual gift that you redistribute to your members is any different from monetary gifts you receive and redistribute to your members in the form of services for their membership.

I am not surprise by your letter however, given your board of corporate advisors:
Richard Schaar
Texas Instruments

Edwar Ahnert
Exxon Mobil Foundation

John Anderson
Toshiba America

Alfred R. Berkeley III

George Borst
Toyota Financial Services

Mark Emmert
Louisiana State University

Stacy King
Clear Channel

Len Roberts
RadioShack Corp.
I have no doubt that Toyota and Exxon were thrilled to hear about Gore's movie, so it must have been your other friends that threw down the gauntlet. Let me just say that this makes you look bad. In fact, I'm tempted to call you whores.


I'm also VERY impressed that NSTA has people from Clear Channel on its board. They produce so much serious scientific programming and are so well known for providing their clients with a docile and demographically defined audience to advertise to through their numerous outlets. They are also known for their liberal attitude toward freedom of thought and speech, those hallmarks of progress.

I'm disappointed that, in your letter, you are neither honest about one of the obvious reasons you refused Laurie David (you're afraid of losing your corporate sponsorship) nor do you admit that this is a loss for students who would have been better educated and better served by that documentary than by those produced by Exxon that are available for free to teachers.

Thanks. Thanks for nothing.