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Bill: Make 'Atlas Shrugged' mandatory

Feb. 6, 2013 at 7:15 PM

BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- An Idaho Republican state senator who introduced a bill requiring high school students to read "Atlas Shrugged" said he doesn't plan to push for passage.

Sen. John Goedde, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, introduced the bill Tuesday that would mandate students pass a test on Ayn Rand's 1957 best-seller, frequently cited by conservative politicians such as U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as inspiration for their politics.

When Republican Sen. Bob Nonini asked Goedde why he proposed making "Atlas Shrugged" required reading, Goedde got a laugh when he said, "That book made my son a Republican."

Goedde, however, said he doesn't plan to move the bill forward -- he just wanted to express his unhappiness with the State Board of Education for recent changes in graduation requirements, and a change in the way school principals are evaluated," The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review reported.

"It was a shot over their bow just to let them know that there's another way to adopt high school graduation requirements," Goedde said.

Rand's book describes an America in which business leaders decide to stop working to protest higher taxes and government regulation.

"When I read 'Atlas Shrugged,' and it's been probably 30 years since I read it, but it certainly gives one a sense of personal responsibility," Goedde said.

For the record, Goedde said his son is not actually "a practicing Republican. But it certainly made him a conservative."

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