MISSOULA SCHOOL BOARD BANS STORY OF STUFF!
We need your help! Please send an email!
A teacher in Missoula, Montana, U.S., recently showed the film The Story of Stuff to her high school biology class. An irate parent complained to the school board, which late last month voted that showing the video violated district policy—in effect banning the film.
Fortuantely students, parents, and teachers in Missoula and elsewhere are voicing their concern to the school board. Please join them!
You can read about this growing controversy in these two recent news articles from Missoula: http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2009/02/11/news/local/news03.txt and http://missoulian.com/articles/2009/02/08/news/local/news02.txt. And we will post updates to this blog as things develop.
At a time when every reputable scientist and organization agrees that the future of the planet is at risk, educators need to help students to think critically about the causes and consequences of environmental degradation, especially climate change. Our nation’s textbooks and mainstream media have failed to adequately address the environmental crises we face, and teachers like Kathleen Kennedy should be commended for seeking out alternative materials like The Story of Stuff to encourage critical thinking and action for sustainability.
Please take a minute to send an email to the Missoula school board to ask that they reconsider their vote. I’ve pasted a sample letter below or you can write your own comment.
Stay tuned and thank you for helping!
The Story of Stuff
Here’s a suggested note to the school board or, better yet, you can write and send your own note.
I am writing to urge you to reconsider your January 29th decision that found Kathleen Kennedy, a teacher at Big Sky High School, had violated district policy by airing The Story of Stuff for a biology class. I am deeply concerned that your decision violates Ms. Kennedy’s academic freedom and will have a negative affect on the ability of teachers in your district and around the country to prepare students for the complex and rapidly changing world of which we are all are a part.
It is clear from the public statements of both the teacher and students in the class that the film was intended to spark conversation, something it has done in hundreds of classrooms in the United States over the past year. I believe that The Story of Stuff is a valuable resource for teachers in a variety of subjects, biology included, because it covers exactly the kind of ecological and economic issues that students need to be critically examining, and does it in a straightforward and accessible way.
Please support a motion to reconsider your earlier vote and overturn that vote in favor of academic freedom, critical thinking and dialogue.
Thank you for your attention and interest.