Ferguson on the SBOE

Constitutional scholar and Baptist minister John Ferguson yesterday weighed in on the vague, very general Bible curriculum standards adopted by the State Board of Education in the Abilene Reporter News:

As a father and a man of faith, I am concerned whenever government gets involved in my religion or my kids’ lives. Then when the state starts pushing local school districts to venture into a controversial and lawsuit-inspiring area that interferes with both, my consternation may very well turn into action (especially in an election year).

Ferguson was dumbfounded to find that the board created “aerobics standards [that] are specific to the point of making sure students can identify appropriate footwear” but found Bible classes to require only a “half-page of vague standards.”

Further, Ferguson, who has advised school districts across the country on teaching academically sound and constitutional Bible classes, eviscerates the board’s decision to refuse the advice offered by experts in the fields of law and biblical studies in designing effective standards. The board’s decision, in effect, forces local districts to spend taxpayer money to research and design their own Bible curricula. (A Texas Freedom Network Education Fund report found that local school districts already struggle to create constitutional, educational Bible courses.)

Ferguson may be surprised by the board’s action (or inaction, as the case may be), but longtime observers of the SBOE aren’t.

Just this year alone, the board has butchered English language arts standards and ignored the legislative intent that they design specific curriculum standards for public school Bible classes. If we aren’t careful, they’ll evict evolution from our science classes, too. Stand Up for Science!