Republican delegate wants “science fiction” to be taught in West Virginia Schools

Today’s edition of you’re doing it right! comes to us from a Republican from West Virginia. Apparently, he wants to require schools to teach science fiction. Now, the cynical part of me rolled my eyes and thought the science fiction he wanted to teach was intelligent design.

I am humbled.

A bill calling for science fiction to be made compulsory reading in schools has been proposed by a politician in West Virginia in order to “stimulate interest in the fields of math and science”.

Yes, Republican delegate Ray Canterbury wants students to read things like Asimov and Verne to encourage an appreciation of math and science. He wants to make science fiction required reading in literature courses.

Anyone who says this is not the “small government” that the Republican party was supposed to be supporting, well, I see your point. But personally, I think government does have a place in the public education system, and things like this is what they are supposed to be doing.

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About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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9 Responses to Republican delegate wants “science fiction” to be taught in West Virginia Schools

  1. Kaoru Negisa says:

    I absolutely hate the term “small government” because it’s looking for the wrong thing. Who cares what the relative size of government is if it’s doing the right thing? The dichotomy should be between good government and bad government, and this is unquestionably good government.

  2. Muriel says:

    Oh please, not Asimov. There is good science fiction out there, even if it’s rare, there really is. But Asimov? Won’t anyone please think of the children?

    • emmawolf says:

      Ha ha. I actually don’t have the details of his plans and how much control government wants in selecting which science fictions books to subject children to. I said Asimov because I believe the delegate said he was a personal favorite.

      • Muriel says:

        Since I appear to be the only person in the world who thinks that Asimov would not have been able to write a decent story if it had been asked of him to save his dear old grandmother’s soul and his children’s as well, we can expect his stuff to be used.
        So, the USA are out of the list of countries I might move to one day.

  3. rarasaur says:

    I love the plan! 😀 There should definitely be more sci-fi in school.

    (Also, Emma, I love-love the new theme!)

    • emmawolf says:

      Thanks. I get bored often and have to change things up.

      At first, it surprised me that this even had to be proposed. In my school, I had to read Brave New World. In elementary school, we read A Swiftly Tilting Planet (which might be more fantasy than sci fi?) But then I realized, I think that was it. Other classes read Fahrenheit 451, but I think that really was all.

  4. Ryan says:

    Literature classes in high school spend too much time on the past and too little on the future. Where we are going as a society or species is more important than where we were.

    Even when those classes do look to the future (or the future as predicted by some guy in the early 20th century), it is almost always through dystopian fiction, such as Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. We are taught to be afraid of what “the government” will do if certain forms of technology develop and if we all become complacent. But what about the other implications of technology? How would religion and our understanding of the “human condition” change if cloning, memory uploading and altering, and so on were developed? Who will get to own which property in space and according to what laws and international agreements? What sort of economic consequences would we face as a result of an immortal or very long-lived population? What would happen if the only people who could afford life-changing technology were the very rich?

    But no, we instead have to read less than a handful of old, fear-driven, barely sci-fi novels whose primary focus appears to be how our species readily accepts authoritarian regimes. The rest of our literature focuses on slavery, war, and Shakespeare, often through text that the average high schooler has trouble reading (and thus doesn’t bother) because no one speaks or writes that way anymore.

    Through mysterious alchemical processes, my English degrees convert my opinions on this subject into facts. Just accept them.

    • emmawolf says:

      I just thought of this as I read what you wrote: “What would happen if the only people who could afford life-changing technology were the very rich?” We also read Jurassic Park in high school. That was one of the issues that was sort of brought up in the book, IIRC. The rich guy who put so much money into the park was kind of exploring this issue, but more along the lines of “I’m investing my money in science for entertainment because there’s money to be made. No money to be made in actually helping people.”

      (I don’t know if this sudden memory is really adding to the conversation, but I just wanted to let you know. Maybe all required reading isn’t so bleak? Thanks for reminding me.)

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