The Houston Chronicle has an excellent wrap up of last Friday’s decision by the State Board of Education to adopt vague, very general guidelines for public school Bible classes in Texas. TFN Daily News Clips includes links to other stories about the state board’s action. (Click here to subscribe to TFN Daily News Clips. News Clips offers a convenient digest of news articles and editorials involving religious freedom, civil liberties and public education.)
As we have reported, the state board refused to give local school districts specific curriculum standards that would guide them in developing legally appropriate and academically useful classes about the Bible’s influence in history and literature. (For more background on the issue, click here.) The legal fallout from the board’s decision will come later as local school districts struggle with how to develop these courses on their own.
The Texas Freedom Network Education Fund released a report in 2006 that details what already happens in Texas public schools that offer such courses without statewide standards. Most classes end up being about the religious beliefs of the teachers, not truly academic and religiously neutral studies of the Bible’s influence. The report offers a variety of examples. Click here for others, including an overhead transparency that traces the origins of racial and ethnic groups back to Noah — a “theory” once used to justify slavery.