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.

Resources

The Latest on Education

Yesterday the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund released our latest report, Can This Class Be Saved? Authored by Southern Methodist University religious studies professor Mark Chancey, the report looks at a new public school Bible curriculum created with backing from Hobby Lobby President Steve Green.

Green, as you’ll recall, has been in the news a lot lately because of his company’s Supreme Court challenge, on religious liberty grounds, to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers include coverage for birth control in employee health insurance plans.

The Bible curriculum, which Green hopes will be used all over the country, will get its first test run in public schools in Mustang, Oklahoma, this coming school year. Green maintains his aim is to develop a Bible curriculum that’s constitutionally permissible in public schools. For that to be true, as we have explained in our previous reports on public school Bible courses, Green’s course would have to be taught in an academic, non-devotional manner that refrains from promoting or disparaging religion or promoting one particular faith perspective over all others.

So is that the case with the Green-sponsored Bible curriculum? Chancey’s report raises some serious concerns, and Green’s own comments suggest the… Read More

BIBLE CURRICULUM BACKED BY HOBBY LOBBY PRESIDENT WOULD LEAD TO PREACHING, NOT TEACHING, IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Biblical Scholar’s Review Identifies Serious Flaws in New Curriculum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 3, 2014

The first independent review by a biblical scholar raises serious concerns about a new curriculum that promoters – particularly Hobby Lobby President Steve Green – hope will combat what they see as ignorance about the Bible among public school students.

“This is a classic example of preaching religious beliefs in the guise of promoting religious literacy,” said Mark Chancey, a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, who reviewed the partial and preliminary curriculum for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. “It’s hard to imagine this curriculum, with its sectarian elements, errors and oddities, was put together by dozens of scholars as claimed.”

Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit created by Green, is publishing the curriculum, The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact. Public schools in Mustang, near Oklahoma City, plan to teach a pilot version this fall.

Chancey’s review reveals that the new curriculum suggests the Bible is literally and historically accurate, promotes faith claims as fact, and advances a sectarian view of the Bible… Read More

Hobby Lobby’s president Steve Green has sponsored the development of a new Bible curriculum, The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact, that he reportedly hopes thousands of public schools will adopt. The curriculum will be published by Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit organization created by Green to guide the development of a museum that will house his extensive personal collection of Bible-related manuscripts and artifacts. In mid-April the school board of Mustang, located six miles from Hobby Lobby’s Oklahoma City corporate headquarters, announced that it would teach a pilot version of the course beginning in the fall of 2014.

Today, a new TFN Education Fund report authored by Mark Chancey, a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University, finds that the curriculum’s combination of a religious purpose, pervading sectarian bias and frequent factual errors demonstrates that this curriculum has a long way to go before being appropriate for a public school classroom.

We just sent the following press release.

The first independent review by a biblical scholar raises serious concerns about a new curriculum that promoters – particularly Hobby Lobby President Steve Green – hope will combat what they see as ignorance about… Read More

Here are some of the week’s most notable quotes culled from news reports from across Texas, and beyond. Read More

We told you some of the whoppers David Barton shamelessly spouted to hundreds of pastors and their spouses at the Texas Renewal Project event in Austin on April 3-4. His dishonest claims on Thursday evening that someone who criticizes homosexuality is barred from running for the San Antonio City Council were clearly designed to rile up conservative pastors at the gathering. But when Barton returned to the podium on Friday, he vomited out even more nonsense — this time explicitly trying to tie the Bible to a conservative political agenda.

Barton suggested that too many Americans don’t vote the right way because they are “biblically illiterate.” And the reason they supposedly don’t know much about the Bible, he insisted, is because public schools don’t teach students about it. Barton, who absurdly served as an “expert” adviser when the Texas State Board of Education revised social studies curriculum standards in 2009-10, even invented an example — suggesting that he faced opposition when he proposed requiring textbooks to identify civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. as a minister:

“They said ‘we can’t put reverend doctor in the textbook. What are you thinking?… Read More