As if teenagers weren’t angsty enough, Idaho lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require student to read “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s 1,069-page prayer to the self.
“State Sen. John Goedde introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require Idaho secondary students to read and pass an examination on the iconic 1957 novel touted by conservatives like Rep. Paul Ryan and Rush Limbaugh,” Fox News notes.
Sen. Goedde, a Republican, says the bill is meant to be more of a statement than actual policy.
Media outlets have so far “totally missed the point” of his proposed legislation, the senator told Fox in a statement, adding that the bill is protest against a state Board of Education decision to cut back online class requirements.
“Traditionally in Idaho, the State Board of Education sets graduation requirements in rule,” Goedde said in an email Thursday.
“They recently repealed a rule dealing with online class requirements and failed to move another rule forward dealing with administrators demonstrating proficiency in evaluating teachers. I felt both were important and wanted to remind them that the legislature could also set graduation standards,” he adds.
The senator stressed that he is only trying to make a point with his “Atlas Shrugged” bill and that he doesn’t believe it will actually pass.
Still, as noted in the report, the bill was formally introduced Tuesday.
“The student shall obtain a passing grade on the examination in order to satisfy the graduation requirement provided for in this section. Such examination shall be approved by the state department of education,” the bill reads.
When asked why Sen. Goedde chose “Atlas Shrugged,” he replied: “That book made my son a Republican.”
He also told The Spokesman-Review that the proposed legislation is merely a “shot over their bow” to “indicate other ways to adopt high school graduation requirements.”
Final Thought: We wonder if the senator sees the irony in introducing a bill that would force students to read — of all things — “Atlas Shrugged,” the world’s longest, most rambling breakup letter to governed society.
A government bill forcing people to read Ayn Rand is like a small business profiting off of t-shirts with Che Guevara on them.
— Frances Martel (@francesmartel) February 7, 2013
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Featured image courtesy Getty Images. This post has been updated.