Oct 042007

The judge made a reasonable decision, I suppose, but what business do judges have in making such decisions in the first place? These are judgment calls that could reasonably be decided a number of different ways. Wouldn’t it be better for local school officials to be making them? And what would be so terrible about them not all making the same decision? Why do all the schools have to march in lock-step? So long as local principals and teachers have to watch their backs for fear of what local taxpayers and parents say, that would seem to be sufficient control, and one more robust in surviving occasional mistakes.

It’s bad enough in the United States where state boards of education make decisions for the schools in the state. That was one of the bad things about John Engler’s school finance reform in Michigan — it took a measure of control out of parents and local taxpayers’ hands, and turned it over to a state educational bureaucracy. Whatever the fiscal merits, they can hardly have been worth that cost.

Here‘s what the fuss is about:

Schools will have to issue a warning before they show pupils Al Gore’s controversial film about global warming, a judge indicated yesterday.

The move follows a High Court action by a father who accused the Government of ‘brainwashing’ children with propaganda by showing it in the classroom.

Stewart Dimmock said the former U.S. Vice-President’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is unfit for schools because it is politically biased and contains serious scientific inaccuracies and ‘sentimental mush’.

He wants the video banned after it was distributed with four other short films to 3,500 schools in February.

Mr Justice Burton is due to deliver a ruling on the case next week, but yesterday he said he would be saying that Gore’s Oscar-winning film does promote ‘partisan political views’.

This means that teachers will have to warn pupils that there are other opinions on global warming and they should not necessarily accept the views of the film.

He said: ‘The result is I will be declaring that, with the guidance as now amended, it will not be unlawful for the film to be shown.’