A Florida lawmaker has offered a new definition of a summer must-see movie. According to the Hollywood Reporter, State Senator Alan Hays has promised a bill that would force all public high-schools and middle-schools to screen Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine the World without Her.
As I’ve argued elsewhere, D’Souza’s film seems to be another conservative exercise in shadow-boxing. The film assumes that American history teachers are pushing an ideologically inspired hatred against the United States. Historically, that just hasn’t been the case. As I argue in my upcoming book, conservatives have exerted outsized influence over the kinds of history their kids learn in public school for decades. The notion that schools have been taken over by a scheming cabal of sneaky progressive educators and historians just doesn’t match the historical record.
Nevertheless, it is a notion that resonates strongly with conservatives. As Senator Hays put it,
I’ve looked at history books and talked to history teachers and the message the students are getting is very different from what is in the movie. It’s dishonest and insulting. The students need to see the truth without political favoritism.
Ironically, Senator Hays’ plans might just prove the case. As the Hollywood Reporter points out, Hays’ bill might actually pass, given the political landscape in Florida. If it did, or even if it made a strong showing, it would demonstrate the continuing influence of conservative activism on public education.