Texas legislators decided there is room for Bible study in public schools. So they created a law mandating students receive Bible “literacy” teachings in the classroom. They just didn’t tell anyone how to go about it. Nor how to pay for it. Guess how well this new learning initiative is going?
By state law, schools must bring kids up to speed on Adam and Eve, just like they do physics and trig. But the law doesn’t say how they need to go about doing it, which means some schools are having kids open up Bibles in standard classes, while other schools are offering Bible study as an elective.
But it’s not like lawmakers created this law totally blind! They law stipulates Bible teachings must be religiously “neutral.” Oh, except they created no rules about what that means, either.
So here’s where we stand: Texas schools must teach kids about the Bible, but they shouldn’t be teaching them the Scripture as truth, although theoretically they could, but mostly administrators haven’t a clue what, specifically, they’re required to do.
Now, learning the Bible is not necessarily a bad thing for school kids. Arguably, it sits up there with the Koran and the Torah as the most influential texts the world has ever seen. Wars have been fought, and millions of lives lost, based on how humans interpret their passages. So encouraging young minds to learn what’s being said in religious scripts is actually a pretty decent thing, the same way these kids should be learning about other societies, civilizations, and the motivations that steered them.
But Texas’ Bible-in-schools law leaves far too much room open for interpretation, even with this “neutrality” stuff. So here’s our suggestion: Let the kids read their Bibles, discuss the stories and meanings, and deconstruct the word of god … during a fiction writing course.
Or, better yet, this:
Many North Texas schools seem to be sidestepping the issue by saying they already teach the Bible when analyzing allusions in Shakespeare or discussing ancient Mesopotamia.
Frisco ISD plans to add nuggets to its world history course this spring. Irving ISD has “beefed up” its material to meet the curriculum requirement. McKinney ISD will wait until the state offers teacher training before it establishes a course but says that religious literature is already taught in existing courses.
Dallas ISD won’t offer a class either.
“The operative word in the bill is ‘may,’ ” said district spokesman Jon Dahlander.