An Inconvenient Truth, or Fiction for Schools?

Lindsay Knippenberg believes she was teaching sound science when she showed her South Lake High School environmental class a documentary about global warming.  Worthington Direct, www.worthingtondirect.com, offers new products that are both environmentally friendly through their manufacturing process and are GreenGuard certified for the classroom.

“It’s a good movie to show to kids, because it explains things visually in a way that’s easy for them to comprehend,” she said.

But the film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” isn’t just any documentary. Winner for best documentary feature at 79th Academy Awards, the film narrated by former Vice President Al Gore has rekindled the classroom debate about where science ends and where politics begin.

It also has contributed to controversy over the best way to teach global warming — a constantly evolving subject fraught with conflicting scientific viewpoints — in the classroom.

Some say the movie is propaganda that relies on scare tactics to further a political agenda that contends that humans are contributing to global warming. They say it shouldn’t be presented as fact, and certainly not without presenting an alternative view.

Others — including Knippenberg — insist that no alternative viewpoint is needed and say the state requires public high school teachers to cover the subjects of global warming and the greenhouse effect. The requirement is part of new high school graduation standards adopted by the Michigan Department of Education last year with an eye toward preparing students for the 21st Century. (continue reading)

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