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Eastern launches Bible literacy
Curriculum to be included in elective classes as pilot program

Kokomo Perspective
Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012 7:58 am
By Pat Munsey

Eastern School Corp. has decided that the Bible has something to teach its students. The school board voted in July to allow a pilot program to be taught as part of some elective courses. Depending on the outcome, superintendent Dr. Tracy Caddell said the curriculum may expand.

The material comes from the Bible Literacy Project, a “non-partisan, non-profit endeavor to encourage and facilitate the academic study of the Bible in public schools.”

Caddell stressed that the approach is secular, not promoting a belief.

“It’s a national movement where schools are presenting lessons from the Bible in a secular format,” said Caddell. “There are a lot of lessons in the Bible in terms of character education—teaching honesty, being forthright, not cheating your neighbor.

“So, we’re going to take that curriculum, which has been approved through a variety of courts and legal cases, and use it as a supplement in some courses.”

According to the Bible Literacy Project’s website, the goal is in the organization’s name — “a grasp of the language, major narratives, and characters of the Bible.” The Bible’s influence on Western civilization in terms of literature and drama is also explored.

“Of course, the Bible is not merely literature; for a number of religious traditions it is sacred text,” according to the website. “Our curriculum and online teacher training prepare teachers to address the relevant, major religious readings of the text in an academic and objective manner.”

The project’s founders specifically state that the theological aspect of the Bible is not promoted or discouraged in the curriculum.

“Increasing knowledge about the Bible is part of a good education; but teaching what to believe belongs in the home,” the website reads.

Caddell said that the school corporation is still determining how the curriculum will be used in the classroom, but he is certain that it will not be included as a requirement for any student.

“It is not going to be in our core courses,” said Caddell. “Peter Heck will kick this off for us in one of his courses, and we’ll go from there. We feel good about it. There are lots of life lessons in the Bible that can be applied, and there is strong literature that exists in the Bible.

“I think at some point it may become a standard course. We’re going to do a pilot program and see where it goes.”

The Bible Literacy Project was founded in 2001, and it has published the academic textbook “The Bible and Its Influence” since 2005. The curriculum is currently taught in more than 580 schools across 43 states. For additional information about the project and its curriculum, visit

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