TX Schools Struggle to Adopt Bible Literacy Law

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Some Texas school districts are scrambling to interpret a state law requiring public schools to teach Bible literacy.

The law was passed in 2007 and is set to take effect this school year.

However, the new rule is vague and doesn't provide a great deal of direction for school officials.

The lack of training for teachers to guide them on how to teach such a controversial topic is worrisome for critics.

A religious studies expert who is critical of the plan said, "asking a school district to teach a course or include material in a course without providing them any guidance or resources is like sending a teacher into a minefield without a map."

An early version of the bill reads, "A school district shall offer to students in grade nine and above an elective course in Hebrew Scriptures and its impact and an elective course on the New Testament and its impact, or an elective course that combines the courses."

But the final version of the bill was tweaked to say the school district "may offer."

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says the law doesn't require schools to offer an official Bible course, although they can offer it as an elective or incorporate the Bible into English and social studies classes. Schools just have to find some way to work in the Bible.

For example, when studying literature, students should learn the biblical allusions in the work in the same way they would be required to learn other non-Christian cultural references for proper interpretation.

The bill makes it clear that the teaching will be objective, only highlighting the Bible's impact on a given subject, and not using it to convince students to become Christian.

 

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