Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bible Study in Texas Public Schools: A Minefield

Wait. Bible study in public schools? Seriously? This is a serious as a heart attack. Bible study in public schools was enabled over two years ago by passage of HB 1287 authored by State Rep Wayne Chisum (R-Wackjob) passed in the state house on May 9th 2007 and passed in the Senate two weeks later.

I wrote some things about it a month before it passed, predicting chaos and confusion should it pass.

And boy was I not wrong.

Texas school districts that have jumped at the chance to bring this thing off are now looking at offering a course on religion as they would look at a leper. With dread.

From the Austin American-Statesman:

“Legislators had built safeguards into the law that were meant to ensure the class on the Bible's impact on history and literature of Western civilization would be taught in an ‘objective, academic manner that neither promotes nor disparages religion,’ and not ‘from a particular sectarian point of view,’ according to the law.”

“Those protections included mandated teacher training, state-approved training materials and curriculum standards deemed constitutional by the state attorney general.”

“The Texas Education Agency told school districts that it would not provide the training and materials because the Legislature did not budget the $750,000 to do so.”

Of course they didn’t. After all, what’s better saying that you pass such a law in your state legislature or actually offering the class with all of the legal headaches that it will surely bring no matter how many safeguards are built into the process?

Nope. This one is a no-brainer. Not only is this whole thing a minefield, but it seems only the blind will be inclined to pick their way through it.

No comments: