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Matt Drudge is a total dick. This is the same guy that said the 16 year olds that Mark Foley was hitting on were sexual beasts.

He needs to come out and get it over with...

Posted by Mike in MO | January 12, 2007 9:55 AM

Also, and really, isn't Federal Way really more of a Tacoma suburb? It has almost nothing to do with Seattle.

Posted by sniggles | January 12, 2007 10:00 AM

I agree with Dan,

Fuck you with something hard & sandpapery, Matt.

Posted by Daniel | January 12, 2007 10:17 AM

I agree with Dan's comments here that Federal Way is clueless. I live in the nearby suburb of Des Moines. However, neither city is particularly soulless. Both cities are actually suburbs of both Seattle and Tacoma. A nearby park is the site where a both cities buried a hatchet in the 1930s, at the midway point between Seattle and Tacoma. So Federal way occupies a noman's land between the two cities. I think Federal Way is maligned in the same way that Beaverton is maligned by people in Portland. I've found Matthew Stadler's writing (an essay or two has been in The Stranger )about Beaverton to apply just as much to Federal Way. The Stranger has also published a few articles about "the soul" of the South End including the beautifully accurate essay by Charles Mudede and photos by Alice Wheeler called "Negativeland."

In any case, I'll follow this comment with my letter to the school district, and there corresponding cracked and offensive response.

Matt Briggs
from under the historic Sea-Tac flight path

World-Class Education or Backwood Education?

Dear Federal Way School Board:

I am disheartened that the school board would capitulate to a single parent over the issue of global warming, much less some of the other issues raised by Frosty Hardison and quoted in the Seattle PI this morning. Global warming, despite the war over ideologies, is supported by the scientific community. As a parent of a student in your school system, I am counting on my child to receive an education based on critical thought and the humanist tradition including an understanding of the scientific method. To entertain Frosty Hardison's claims undercuts these values. Frosty Hardison's wild claims about the age of the Earth or global warming do not have any basis in fact or science. While I understand the school board has only put on a restriction on the movie about global warming, and that Al Gore as a former Democratic vice-president presents an ideologically charged stance about global warming, the fact is to have capitulated over this request sends the message that Federal Way values these ideological debate more than critical thought, science, or fact. It sends the message that children in Federal Way are not entitled to a world-class education that will prepare them for the complex global market place of this century.

I hope this situation is rectified. If it is not, I would like to see a policy in place where any wild claim about any aspect of the education at Federal Way receives it's fair response. I suspect for instance if I asked that the Flying Spaghetti Monster was taught in your physics courses that you would balk at such a request or even ignore it. This would be the appropriate response. In the same way, a cosmopolitan school district is full of people like me and full of people like Frosty Hardison. Please focus on the issue at hand, and that is, educating children to be rebellious, critical, independent, and knowledge about science, history, math, and literature.

Matt Briggs

Re: World-Class Education or Backwood Education?

Dave-Larson -ESC

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns. I write this
intending to express my own views and not the views of other board members. Perhaps you need to understand better what we did. First of all, we did not ban the movie. Second, we did not make the decision based upon Mr. Hardison's beliefs, but on policy. Our policies are reasonable and need to be followed. The article did not tell you that it was the attached email from the teacher of Mr. Hardison's child that prompted me to take action to make sure academic integrity was maintained in our schools. She intended to show the movie to seventh graders without a plan to show opposing views in violation of existing policy.

Policy 2331 and 2331P (see below) will be equally enforced regardless of what side of the spectrum any controversial issue falls upon. We are not banning or censoring the movie and have no intent to do so. All we requested is that policy be followed. We actually tried to make sure that the door was open for more debate on an issue, not less. Perhaps you need to look at this from the standpoint of the way the information about global warming is conveyed versus whether it is conveyed.

Keep in mind that the main “controversy” here is more rooted in politics than science. With that in mind, there are many other ways to teach global warming instead of using a feature film by a political partisan, but despite that belief on my part I still did not vote to "ban" the movie even though I had the power to do so. Take a look at the links below for a couple examples of alternative courses and information that I have shared with the district for consideration. Contrary to the perception of some, I will not vote to compel the district to use this information or to not use An Inconvenient Truth, but using NOAA's or NASA's information may just have better educational value than the movie.

By the way, I would have made the same decision if the movie was about the Iraq war and was narrated by George W. Bush. Sometimes the messenger is more controversial than the message. It always puzzles me that the people that yell the loudest about free speech are the fir st to quash anyone who disagrees with them, but this will not happen on my watch with our kids. As long as I am on the board I will be a zealous advocate for open debate. I wonder if Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo, or other out of the box thinkers would have ever made their discoveries had they not questioned what was perceived to be the determined "facts" of the day by those in power. I understand there was a religious component to quashing debate during their times, but does it matter what the source is that quashes debate when some think the debate is over?

Simply asking for duly adopted policy to be followed by making sure opposing views are presented when a political partisan presents a contested political issue is not too much to ask in a free society. I hope you feel the same way, but, if not, history has shown that you would not be the first person to believe that only their beliefs, including beliefs about science, are correct and acceptable. Research what was thought to be scientific fact 50 or 100 years ago and you will truly understand why I believe in debate, even about science.
Thank you.

Dave Larson

Posted by Matt Briggs | January 12, 2007 10:24 AM

Dan, please don't make Drudge seem more intelligent than he actually is.

Posted by The Zero Boss | January 12, 2007 10:27 AM

Wow, Dave Larson = clueless dick.

I love the way they argue that science is the same as blind faith in religion. Ummmm, yeah rrrrrrrright. He says take a look at what was thought to be scientific fact 50 or 100 years ago, as if all those "facts" have been shattered. Shattered by what? i would ask him. By religious nutbags and their brilliant ideas? Nope; by more FUCKING SCIENCE! Frightening that someone in public education is too pea brained to get that. Note to nut bags out there... Science is not a FAITH.

Posted by longball | January 12, 2007 10:46 AM

It now says "Seattle-area". Drudge must be listening.

Posted by Matt (not drudge) | January 12, 2007 11:19 AM

Facts never were Bushies' strong point.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 12, 2007 11:20 AM

The Siteline Institute explains the built-in fact checking of science coherently and points to the illogic of providing "both points of view" when it comes to a scientific fact in this quick summary:

At the risk of sounding didactic, the thing about science is this: it's not a matter of opinion or personal belief (or free speech or freedom of religion, for that matter). Science is based on empirical evidence and on theories that are carefully constructed from that evidence. And the theories are vetted extensively by other scientists.

Source: "a href="">Science Does Not Apply In Federal Way"

Posted by Matt Briggs | January 12, 2007 11:37 AM

Matt, shorter posts are sweeter.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 12, 2007 1:11 PM

I could sure use some of that "global warming" today, (Man alive its cold out there)!

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | January 12, 2007 2:26 PM

It's climate change, You Gotta. Yesterday in Chicago it was muggy -- muggy! -- and warm enough to go for a bike ride. (Not that I had time; I just saw lots of folks doing it.) And in Seattle, land of temperate winters? 20 degrees was it?

Posted by Dan Savage | January 12, 2007 3:57 PM

How fun would it be to stand outside the schools and hand out copies of the movie?

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Posted by JamesGd | January 12, 2007 11:10 PM

Well yeah, the Federal Way School Board is soulless and clueless, otherwise my aunt wouldn't have had to spend her entire career closeted. Hold up though. I started picking up The Stranger to read Savage Love when I was in junior high in Federal Way and have never stopped reading. We can't all be soulless and clueless, can we then?

Not to mention that there are worse issues worth worry, like public schools in Boston, where I now live. At least in Federal Way I was educated to think on my own instead of being educated on how to take standardized tests. Or how to wish my parents could afford private school, where no one questions parental influence on curriculum.

Posted by moxvoxfox | January 13, 2007 12:00 PM

Just wrote my own letter to the school board:

Greetings Mr. Larson and members of the Federal Way School Board,

I read with some interest your emailed reply to Matt Briggs, which Mr. Briggs shared with the Seattle community on The Stranger's blog, regarding your decisions to require opposing points of view when teachers show An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary film about global warming. While the story broke soon after a large chunk of ice itself broke from an ice shelf in the Canadian Arctic, I applaud your efforts to require an opposing point of view and that children should be able to make up their minds for themselves. After all, children are easily mislead when they hear facts on the news like icebergs the size of Delaware sliding into the Ocean, so these "facts" should certainly be refuted by opposing evidence from people like Mr. Frosty Hardison, who believe that the earth was created 14,000 years ago. As Mr. Hardison was himself quoted as saying in the Seattle PI, Al Gore is a politician, not a science teacher, so someone like Mr. Hardison who has such a firm grasp of science and scientific principles should certainly be dictating scientific curriculum in a Washington state school. While I didn't see Mr. Hardison's scientific credentials in any news stories, I can only assume this is because of some kind of bias by the news agencies themselves and not because Mr. Hardison has zero scientific credentials of his own, and that your decision to require opposing points of view was made based on Mr. Hardison's sound presentation of scientific evidence that there is an opposing point of view.

However, I note that this decision does not address another concern I have with curriculum in Federal Way schools: namely, the teaching of the Holocaust. As I'm sure you're aware, history classes and teachers often teach the Holocaust - the organized extermination of Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and Communists - as if it were "fact." They show movies by Hollywood Jews like Stephen Spielberg's "Schindler's List" as if those films were some kind of fact, without bothering to present the opposing point of view! As you said in your reply to Mr. Briggs, things that were considered scientific facts 50 or 100 years ago are now being called into question, and so to it is with history. Therefore, I must ask that when the Holocaust is taught in Federal Way schools, you follow the same line of thinking you used when capitulating to Mr. Hardison's decision and teach Holocaust Denial as well: the belief that there was no organized plan by the Third Reich to eliminate Europe's Jews in a systematic manner.

While I'm certainly not as eloquent as Mr. Hardison in presenting my request, it is only fair that you adopt this policy as well - because if someone who believes the Earth was created 14,000 years ago is dictating Federal Way Schools' scientific curriculums, then some crankjob anti-Semite ought to be dictating history curriculums. Failure to comply with this request will reveal nothing less than that you, and the rest of the Federal Way school board members, are hypocrites who merely capitulated to one loud nutjob as opposed to actually doing your job and standing up for the best education our children deserve. Or, I suppose you could reverse your decision to allow one person who believes the Earth is 14,000 years old to dictate science curriculum. Your call.


Jason Mical

Posted by Jason Mical | January 15, 2007 9:38 AM

Nice Post.

That was well said. Always appreciate your indepth views. Keep up the great work!


Posted by JohnPearson | January 25, 2007 8:24 PM

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