In 2007 many Christians celebrated when Texas passed legislation requiring that the Bible be taught in public schools. Though it insisted courses maintain “religious neutrality,” the move presented a glimmer of hope amid the generations-long removal of Christianity from the public education system. But two years later, with Texas schools now following through with the law, there’s little to celebrate—thanks in part to a serious lack of leadership. Read It All Here
In mandating “religious neutrality,” Texas lawmakers hoped to train teachers and approve curriculum for teaching classes on biblical literacy. But with minimal funding, the initiative has resulted in more confusion than enlightenment for students and teachers.
“Asking a school district to teach a course or include material in a course without providing them any guidance or resources is like sending a teacher into a minefield without a map,” said Mark Chancey, an associate professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University who released a report called “Teaching the Bible in Texas Public Schools.”
Last year the state attorney general made an effort to clarify the law and emphasized that schools were free to offer a separate course on Bible literacy or incorporate the subject into preexisting classes. Still, with no curriculum supplied by the Texas Board of Education, many schools are scrambling to find ways to teach the Bible this fall.
“It’s easy to see why some educators might be tempted to skirt this topic,” wrote USA Today contributor William R. Mattox Jr. “Yet, to its credit, the Texas Board of Education is soldiering on, knowing that you can’t effectively explore American history without teaching about the Rev. King, and that you can’t teach about the civil rights leader without helping students understand the meaning and power of his frequent references to “the Promised Land” and other scriptural metaphors, verses and concepts. Hopefully, Texas and other states can strike the right balance—and raise our nation’s biblical literacy levels without engaging in religious indoctrination of one kind or another. For while people on different sides will object to the Bible being misused in the classroom, all of us on all sides ought to object to the Bible being ignored in the classroom.” [UPI, 9/6/09; usatoday.com, 8/17/09]