State Representative Jeff Shipley of Iowa has just introduced a bill (House File 194) that is both brief and excellent:

An Act directing that students be required to read and demonstrate comprehension of excerpts from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book “The Gulag Archipelago” as a condition of high school graduation.

The NAS asked Representative Shipley why he introduced the bill. Shipley said, “I could barely find a high school student or history teacher who could tell me what ‘USSR’ meant.” Shipley added that he was “also getting pretty tired of people waving the hammer and sickle without any clue of the suffering that symbol caused.”

These are both excellent reasons to have high school students read from The Gulag Archipelago, besides its exceptional literary quality. The NAS encourages Iowa residents to get in touch with their representatives to speak in favor of Representative Shipley’s bill.

The NAS also encourages more far-reaching reform of high school graduation requirements. Rep. Shipley’s bill addresses only one symptom of the widespread abandonment of proper history and civics at both the K-12 and college level. The different states need coordinated measures to reform their high school graduation requirements, their public university distribution requirements, and their K-12 teacher certification requirements, so as to teach history and civics seriously. They also need to initiate drastic measures to reduce the numbers of education bureaucrats at both the K-12 and the college level, to improve educational standards, efficiently use tax resources, and to remove another redoubt of political indoctrination.

But Representative Shipley’s bill is an excellent experiment for this larger project. We hope it passes.

  • Share

Most Commented

October 31, 2023


University of Washington Violated Non-Discrimination Policy, Internal Report Finds

A faculty hiring committee at the University of Washington “inappropriately considered candidates’ races when determining the order of offers,” provided “disparate op......

January 24, 2024


After Claudine

The idea has caught on that the radical left overplayed its hand in DEI and is now vulnerable to those of us who seek major reforms. This is not, however, the first time that the a......

December 9, 2023


The Presidents and Academic Freedom

What are the boundaries of “free speech?” They are pretty much the same as the boundaries of civilization. Savages need not apply....

Most Read

May 15, 2015


Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

October 12, 2010


Ask a Scholar: What is the True Definition of Latino?

What does it mean to be Latino? Are only Latin American people Latino, or does the term apply to anyone whose language derived from Latin?...

September 21, 2010


Ask a Scholar: What Does YHWH Elohim Mean?

A reader asks, "If Elohim refers to multiple 'gods,' then Yhwh Elohim really means Lord of Gods...the one of many, right?" A Hebrew expert answers....