Here's a change that could actually make schools less awful, instead of more. A West Virginia legislator proposed a bill last month that would require schools to add science fiction to their reading lists.
Delegate Ray Canterbury's bill, which is a repeat of a bill from last year, reads:
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. 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.
And Canterbury told Blastr last month:
In Southern West Virginia, there’s a bit of a Calvinistic attitude toward life—this is how things are and they’ll never be any different. One of the things about science fiction is that it gives you this perspective that as long as you have an imagination and it’s grounded in some sort of practical knowledge, you can do anything you wanted to. So it serves as a kind of antidote to that fatalistic kind of thinking.
Canterbury is making an all-out push for his bill this time around, writing editorials and lining up co-sponsors. Even if it doesn't pass, he's hoping to spur Boards of Education to add science fiction to curricula on their own. If you live in West Virginia (or have relatives who do), this could be a great thing to write some letters to your representatives about. If it passes there, maybe other states will sit up and pay attention. [Blastr via Media Bistro]