Republican state Sen. Alan Hays really really liked the film “America.” So much so that he wants to make viewing the film by conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza required viewing for all students. Hays seems entirely unaware of the inherent conflict in responding to what he views as the dangerous influence of liberal views by seeking the mandatory viewing of conservative views.
Hays reported that “I saw the movie and walked out of the theater and said, ‘Wow, our students need to see this.’ And it’s my plan to show it to my colleagues in the legislature, too, before they’re asked to vote on the bill.” He would make every student, absent parental objections, watch the film in middle and high schools. That would cover 1,700 Florida public high schools and middle schools. For many of us, such a law seems a tab Orwellian.
D’Souza has become a rallying point for conservative due to a federal investigation that was launched while he was marketing the movie. He pleaded guilty in May to a charge that he made improper donations to a Senate candidate in 2012, though he insists that the case was the result of selective prosecution.
In fairness to Hays, he said that he would not object to a pairing of the movie with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (which is already shown in many classes) or some of Michael Moore’s left-leaning films. However, mandating such films through legislation is a dangerous and destructive path for politicians. These classes should be left to teachers and school administrators — not dictated by the shifting alliances of the legislature. These children are not a captive audience to be tossed about by our increasing rapid political debate. While I have been a long critic of administrators over the application of zero tolerance rules and lack of accountability, this intrusion into the classroom is menacing and ill-considered.
On the slippery slope of politically mandated education, we could see a race to the bottom as liberal and conservative states implement their own agendas of education. The result will be the further reduction of educational standards in the United States and the replication of the same intolerance that we see across the country in our political discourse. I have not see D’Souza’s movie or read his book. However, I am opposed to politicians picking reading or viewership lists for students. Indeed, politicians may be the least suited for such a role. There has to be some limit on the mutually assured destruction of the two parties — some protected zone that can be free of this self-destructive internecine struggle. We should at least be able to tell politicians to keep their hands off the kinder.
Source: Hollywood Reporter