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Alabama becomes first state to adopt a textbook for academic study of the Bible
Decision provides state funding and approval for The Bible and Its Influence

For release: October 15, 2007

New York, NY. The Bible Literacy Project announces that Alabama State Board of Education is the first in the nation to approve a textbook for academic study of the Bible. The Bible and Its Influence was approved as a textbook for use in an elective course taught in any high school in Alabama as approved by any local board of education.

 “This is major news in the field of education,” said Bible Literacy Project Chairman Chuck Stetson. “While academic study of the Bible is legal in all 50 states, this decision means that any school in the state of Alabama can purchase our textbook with state-provided funds until 2013.”

In its second school year of availability, The Bible and Its Influence is being taught in more than 360 Schools in 43 states -- twice the number of schools teaching it the previous year. This highly acclaimed student textbook offers an elective, non-devotional academic course in literature or social studies and can be implemented in any high school around the nation. “The adoption of our textbook by the Alabama State Board of Education is a first -- a first for any state, and a first for any Bible course publisher,” Stetson explained.

On October 11, 2007, the Alabama School Board designated The Bible and Its Influence as “sufficient to be used as the sole textbook/program for a particular grade or course and meeting 80% or more of the standards outlined in the state course of study and/or is sufficient to be used as the sole textbook for an elective course.”

“Our textbook is the only Bible course that has been approved in this way,” continued Stetson. ”All 543 high schools in Alabama will soon be provided with the list of approved textbooks, including ours. This approval will have a major impact outside of the state of Alabama as well, as this is yet another indication of the substantial academic legitimacy of our course.”

The acclaimed new public high school textbook, The Bible and Its Influence, was praised in TIME magazine’s April 2nd, 2007 cover story “Why We Should Teach the Bible in Public Schools,” which said “[Public school Bible electives] should have a strong accompanying textbook on the model of The Bible and Its Influence.”

The Winter 2007 Baylor Law Review concluded that The Bible and Its Influence “clearly conforms to constitutional standards” and recommended its adoption by public schools. The New York State School Boards Association’s On Board magazine has called The Bible and Its Influence “a remarkable textbook.”  The Bible and Its Influence has been endorsed by leaders from the First Amendment Center, the American Jewish Congress, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Catholic Biblical Association. Prior to publication, the textbook was reviewed by 40 scholars of law, English literature, and secondary education, representing the Catholic, Jewish, Evangelical, mainline Protestant, and Orthodox faiths.

“In addition, legislation supporting high school academic Bible electives passed in Georgia in 2006 and in Texas and South Carolina in June 2007, which has also created considerable statewide interest,” said Stetson.

 “Our course has three key safeguards as an elective in literature or social studies,” said Stetson.

  •  It’s the only student textbook (used alongside the Bible of a student’s choice) that meets the standards of the First Amendment Center publication, The Bible and Public Schools: A First Amendment Guide.

  • The Bible and Its Influence student text is supported by a 488-page wraparound teacher’s edition, along with detailed lesson plans.

  • The Bible Literacy Project provides the only university-based teacher training on how the teach the Bible in public schools, available online for credit.

In 2005 and 2006, the Bible Literacy Project released two national reports on Bible Literacy, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, which showed leading high school English teachers as well as select university literature professors -- including Yale, Harvard, and Princeton -- indicate that students need to know the Bible in order to be well educated.  Details on both national reports can be found in the Press Room at www.bibleliteracy.org.

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