Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Texas Students Are Learning in Public School Bible Courses

Mark Chancey of Southern Methodist University is one of the leading authorities on the role of the Bible and religion in public schools.  In his recent report, Reading, Writing & Religion II: Texas Public School Bible Courses, Chancey examines the content of Bible courses in Texas schools.  Here are some of his findings:
  • 57 Texas school districts taught courses on the Bible in 2011-2012.  (Double the number of courses taught in 2006-2007).
  • Many public school Bible courses have ignored guidelines passed by the Texas Legislature in 2007.
  • Most teachers who teach these courses are not adequately trained.
  • Bible courses often reflect the religious views of the instructor. When courses are biased, they tend to favor conservative Protestant views of the Bible.
  • Anti-Jewish bias "is not uncommon," although sometimes it is unintentional.
  • Some courses claim that the Bible "provides scientific proof of a 6,000 year earth."
  • Some courses on the Bible teach students that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.
  • A "number" of school districts complied with legislative requirements for teaching the Bible in public schools.
  • "Successful" Bible courses could be found in urban, suburban, and rural school districts.