With a public school enrollment of more than 5 million, Texas has an increasingly diverse public education system. Unfortunately, that public education system is also the target of politicians seeking to privatize our neighborhood public schools and push a culture-war agenda in the classroom.

To that end, the Texas Freedom Network – while continuing to fight private school voucher legislation at the Capitol – has conducted groundbreaking research into what is being taught in classrooms on subjects like sex education and religion.

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The Latest on Education

An independent review raises serious concerns about a new curriculum that promoters hope will combat what they see as ignorance about the Bible among public school students. Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit created by Hobby Lobby CEO Steve Green, is publishing the curriculum, The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact.

Read the report: Can This Class Be Saved? The ‘Hobby Lobby’ Public School Bible Curriculum

 

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Our friend Edd Doerr, president of Americans for Religious Liberty, has graciously granted permission for us to publish his review of Teachers versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix Them, a new publication from Brookings Institute Press. The publication, authored by Paul E. Peterson, Michael Henderson and Martin R. West, purportedly offers “a comprehensive exploration of 21st Century school politics.” Doerr’s review also will appear in  the summer issue of Voice of Reason, which is the newsletter for Americans for Religious Liberty. Doerr’s review follows below:

From start to finish this book is a brazen, virulent, deceptive, unreality-based, shameless, slashing attack on American public schools, teachers, and teacher unions. The authors, henceforth PH&W, offer no ideas whatever for improving public schools, demonstrate no comprehension of what education is all about, and make it clear that they strongly favor privatizing public education and diverting public funds to private schools through vouchers, tax credits (neo-vouchers), charters, and cyber schooling. But let’s be specific.

Through their own polls they claim that most Americans favor vouchers or tax credits for public funding of private schools. They carefully avoid discussing the 27… Read More

In an earlier Can This Class Be Saved? post we discussed a speech by Steve Green from April 2013 in which the president of Hobby Lobby discusses his Museum of the Bible public school Bible curriculum that has been approved for a trial run in Mustang, Oklahoma, and what Green’s comments say about his intentions in backing that curriculum’s creation.

Now, in this portion of the speech, Green makes a claim about the Bible that will cause many to scratch their head. In it, Green implies that the Bible is the primary source for all good, but he ignores ways in which the Bible has been misused.

Here’s what Southern Methodist University religious studies professor Mark Chancey, who authored the TFN Education Fund’s new report on the Steve Green-backed curriculum, had to say:

The curriculum implies that the Bible is the primary source for positive developments in Western culture, generally ignoring the ways in which the Bible has been used to justify various forms of oppression.

Green’s own comments to the National Bible Association again appear to have guided the curriculum’s direction: “In every area of our life, this book has impacted our world… Our job … is… Read More

How inappropriate for public schools is the new Bible course curriculum from Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit created by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green? As Mark Chancey, a biblical scholar at Southern Methodist University, points out in his review of The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact, the curriculum echoes Green’s belief in the Bible’s complete literal and historical accuracy. From Prof. Chancey’s review:

The curriculum … follows Green’s lead by strongly affirming the Bible’s complete accuracy. For example, it presents Adam, Eve, and all other biblical characters unambiguously as historical personages. It frames stories of God’s interactions with various characters in such a way as to suggest that those passages, too, reflect historical events. (“Was Moses mentally unstable? No. His titanic swings of emotion and behavior sprang from his special call to stand in the gap between God and the people.”) “Travel through Time” sections found throughout the book encourage students to read biblical passages not only as reflections of the ancient cultures that produced them, but also as accurate historical accounts. The book also unquestioningly affirms traditional claims about the authorship of biblical books (i.e., Mosaic authorship of the Torah) without alerting students to the fact that much of the… Read More

Christian Creationists believe the Bible’s Genesis story of creation — that God created life, Earth and the rest of the universe in six days — is literally true. That certainly is not the belief of all or even most Christians (or Jews). Even so, SMU biblical scholar Mark Chancey points out that the new Bible curriculum from Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit created by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, would teach public school students that science actually backs up the Genesis creation story.

From Chancey’s review of The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact:

At one point, Albert Einstein makes a surprising appearance to shore up a biblical story’s seeming inconsistency. To reconcile Genesis’s description of the creation of light on the first day of creation with the fact that the sun is not created until day four, the book appeals to the Theory of Relativity: Because “energy and mass are equivalent and transmutable” and “all matter is also energy,” then “could it be that creation begins with the advent of energy?” Such reasoning, it suggests, “seems to correlate nicely with the Big Bang Theory of creation, a mighty explosion releasing tremendous amounts of energy.” The section closes by asking, “Could it… Read More

Tx Freedom Network

The House State Affairs hearing today has been moved to room E2.028. #txlege

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