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‘Science Guy’ Seeks School Support

March 4, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Bill Nye, the generally wacky ``Science Guy″ of children’s television, toned down the ``way cool″ persona Wednesday and spoke seriously to lawmakers in favor of modern schools, racial and sex diversity among scientists, the metric system in America _ and plain English.

Appearing before the House Science Committee, a dark-suited Nye said schools will attract good teachers only when school buildings are modern and gleaming. Business people, he said, wouldn’t think of working in buildings with leaky roofs and lacking power sources for computers.

``Yet we expect our teachers in this country in many cases to put up with these kinds of conditions and environments,″ said Nye, who grew up in Washington, D.C., but works in Seattle.

Scientists should be as racially and ethnically diverse as the population, because science ``is a process created and directed by humans,″ he said. Also, he said, science class should be used to push the United States toward adopting the metric system.

Nye urged the panel to issue its report on science education in plain English or risk having no one read it. His show, ``Disney Presents Bill Nye the Science Guy,″ is written at the fourth-grade level because ``it’s generally agreed that’s the oldest a person can be and be excited about science,″ he said to chuckles.

``It turns out that over half our viewers are grownups. So fourth grade isn’t so bad for everyone.″

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