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.

4 thoughts on “What Texas Students Are Learning in Public School Bible Courses

  1. This is neither a liberal nor a conservative issue. Too often people dismiss the facts because they are published in a forum that has a particular viewpoint.

    You may agree or disagree on whether or not it is “right” to teach that the earth has existed only since 4004 B.C. and you may have an opinion about whether or not saying that the USA was founded as a Christian nation, but your opinion should be guided by facts, not the other way around.

    There is a word which describes the case where an ideology is allowed to take precedence over scientific facts. It's called Lysenkoism after the Soviet biologist who denied the reality of evolution because Darwin was a capitalist and instituted good socialist methods for plant improvement which helped millions to die of starvation due to crops that failed to produce.


  2. It should be noted, however. Were it a conservative org, you could take it to the bank it would be pointed out, if not delegitimized on the spot. If not completely ignored in the first place.


  3. That however does not reduce the legitimacy of the report. What it does illustrate is that the teaching of religion in public schools has, is, and will be biased toward the faith of the majority and/or the teacher. If anything, it also shows why teaching religious classes in public schools is something that should not be done. If people want their kids to learn about their faith, then the best place to do that is in a church.


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