Oh, the American South. From the Guardian:
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”.
Ray Canterbury, a Republican delegate, is appealing to the West Virginia board of education to include science fiction novels on the middle school and high school curriculums. “The Legislature finds that promoting interest in and appreciation for the study of math and science among students is critical to preparing students to compete in the workforce and to assure the economic well being of the state and the nation,” he writes in the pending bill.
“To stimulate interest in math and science among students in the public schools of this state, the State Board of Education shall prescribe minimum standards by which samples of grade-appropriate science fiction literature are integrated into the curriculum of existing reading, literature or other required courses for middle school and high school students.”
“I’m not interested in fantasy novels about dragons,” Canterbury told Blastr in a recent interview. “I’m primarily interested in things where advanced technology is a key component of the storyline, both in terms of the problems that it presents and the solutions that it offers.”
What a great idea! Until someone wants to teach The Handmaid’s Tale or The Left Hand of Darkness. Then watch everyone freak out when they suddenly realize how radical science fiction can be. It ain’t all the adventures of starship engineers.