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Deborah Hicks

More than 480 schools nationwide now using Bible Literacy Project's curriculum, The Bible and Its Influence

Texas now has 100 schools teaching Bible Literacy courses

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New York, NY (September 15, 2010) Bible Literacy Project (BLP), publisher of the only student textbook designed for public school courses on the Bible, announced today that 480 schools in 43 states nationwide are now using its course. Texas leads the nation in implementation of Bible literacy courses, with more than 100 schools now using the textbook, while Georgia boasts 51 schools. (See a map of your state's use of Bible literacy courses at www.bibleliteracy.org.)

Eight states now have more than 5% of public high schools teaching this course: Georgia (12.3%), Alabama (9.1%), Indiana (8.2%), Texas (7.5%), South Carolina (7.0%), Tennessee (6.0%), North Carolina (5.8%) and Kentucky (5.0%).

In addition, The Bible and Its Influence is achieving acceptance in larger districts. This fall, this course will be taught in 30 districts with enrollment of more than 20,000 students. "Larger school districts often require a district-wide curriculum review, with public review and comment on the curriculum and multiple layers of approval," said Chuck Stetson, BLP's CEO. "Our track record of successful implementation and strong community support has given larger districts confidence that our materials meet the educational needs of their diverse student populations."

Among the new schools offering the course this fall are 15 pilot schools, which have received free textbooks from BLP to encourage the introduction of the textbook in their area. BLP plans to continue this program throughout the 2010-11 school year for districts that qualify.

This fall, Oklahoma implements HB 2321, a law encouraging public school districts to offer Bible literacy courses. BLP will be working with educators across the state to implement this course in their districts. Oklahoma joins Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas in passing legislation to support Bible literacy in public schools. While teaching about the Bible is legal nationwide, these five states have used legislation to raise public awareness and to promote statewide implementation of these courses.

During this school year, Bible Literacy Project will be attending 26 conventions nationwide to reach school board members, superintendents, curriculum developers, and English teachers with information about the textbook.

Because only seven states remain in the organization's quest to be utilized in all 50 states, Bible Literacy Project is offering a free class set of textbooks to the first public school in Delaware, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wyoming ready to teach the course. "When one school implements the course, we quickly make contact with neighboring schools who want to try it too," said Stetson. "We welcome the opportunity to show these remaining states the strength of our program."

Bible Literacy Project is a non-partisan, non-profit endeavor to encourage and facilitate the academic study of the Bible in public schools. Along with the First Amendment Center, the Bible Literacy Project co-published The Bible and Public Schools: A First Amendment Guide, the historic  1999 statement that established guidelines for teaching about the Bible in public schools. The Guide was endorsed by 21 leading organizations, including the National School Boards Association and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. In 2005, the Bible Literacy Project published The Bible and Its Influence, the first student textbook for academic study of the Bible in public high schools in the last 30 years. Since its publication, this program has gained national recognition for its scholarly approach to teaching about the Bible in compliance with First Amendment guidelines. Designed for high school students in grades 9-12, and enjoyed equally by college students and adult learners, The Bible and Its Influence can be taught as an English, social studies, or humanities elective. Bible Literacy Project ( www.bibleliteracy.org ) is a division of Essentials in Education, an educational publisher.

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