Proposed bill would require students to read, pass exam on ‘Atlas Shrugged’

photo of Ayn Rand
photo credit Ayn Rand Institute

Idaho state Sen. John Goedde proposed a bill Tuesday that would require every high school student in Idaho to read the classic novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand.

Goedde explained the legislation to, saying it would be a way to teach “personal responsibility” to children. They would be required to pass an exam on the lesson.

The lawmaker told the state’s Senate Education Committee, “That book made my son a Republican,” according to Fox.

Goedde said the bill was meant to be symbolic and the move has been misunderstood by the press.

In a statement to, Goedde said media outlets have thus far “totally missed the point” of the bill, which he described as a protest to a state Board of Education decision to roll back online class requirements.

“Traditionally in Idaho, the State Board of Education sets graduation requirements in rule,” Goedde wrote 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 “They recently repealed a rule dealing with online class requirements and failed to move another rule forward dealing with administrators demonstrating proficiency in evaluating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.”

Ironically, Ayn Rand Institute Executive Director Yaron Brook does not approve of lawmakers mandating what high school students should read. In a statement to, Brook said:

“However, every student in America would benefit from reading Atlas Shrugged. Not only does the book explain, in economic, political and philosophical terms, the challenges facing this country, but it also shows what’s required to restore the ideals of the Founding Fathers. Atlas Shrugged is not a Republican or conservative book, but an American book: a hymn to the ideals of individualism, capitalism, and the free human mind.”


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