Bible Literacy Project will present to the Texas Association of
School Boards ways the Bible can be taught in Texas public schools
The convention, meeting in Dallas through Sunday, will draw
attendance from 1,039 Texas school boards. The Bible Literacy
Project will be on hand to introduce attendees to the "The Bible and
Its Influence," the first high school textbook designed to meet
constitutional standards for public school use.
"It was created to satisfy all constituencies involved in the heated
public debate about the Bible in public schools," said Chuck
Stetson, chairman and founder of the Bible Literacy Project.
The textbook, reviewed by more than 40 scholars, can be used in an
elective course in English or social studies for grades nine through
12. It provides comprehensive coverage of the Bible's influence on
literature, art, music and rhetoric.
Sheila Weber, vice president of communications for the Bible
Literacy Project, said many Texans want this type of curriculum to
be available in public schools.
"They do have some public schools that already have and academic
course on the Bible," she told CitizenLink, "and some are looking
for ways to do this better."
Weber added that the curriculum is designed to satisfy First
Amendment standards outlined in a 1999 publication called, "The
Bible in Public Schools: The First Amendment Guide."
"It's a consensus statement on how to teach the Bible in public
schools," she explained. "(It was) signed off by 21 groups including
all the teachers unions, the National School Board Association, as
well as major faith groups—the National Association of Evangelicals
"The value of us having produced a student textbook is that it helps
the teacher stay right on task and not veer off from First Amendment
standards, nor veer off in other directions with their own opinion."
The standards dictate that you can present knowledge but not belief,
"Teachers should not promote belief but they should not denigrate,
either," Weber said. "So our textbook comes at it with the
perspective of tremendous respect for faith traditions which
consider the Bible to be much more than literature, but sacred
Scripture, sacred text."
Dr. Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center,
said until now, there has not been a Bible curriculum he could
recommend to schools.
"Let me say how impressed I am by this," he said. "It is clear that
much hard work and good scholarship have gone into the text. This
promises to be an outstanding resource for public schools."
Weber said the Bible Literacy curriculum meets every standard for
Texas schools. There are over one thousand independent school
districts in Texas that could choose to use the textbook and offer a
course in Bible literacy.
"That's the case across the nation," she said. "There are a lot of
schools that can autonomously decide to incorporate this as a
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more about the textbook and
curriculum developed by the
Bible Literacy Project, and to discover ways to bring the
curriculum to your school district, visit the group's Web site.