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Faith In The Classroom: Texas To Teach Bible Stories To 2 Million Students

Texas elementary schools are set to introduce a significant infusion of Bible stories into their reading curriculum, according to a sweeping redesign unveiled on Wednesday.

The new curriculum aims to blend classical education with biblical narratives, potentially impacting over 2 million K–5 students in the nation’s second-largest state. While proponents argue it enhances cultural literacy, critics raise concerns about the potential for religious indoctrination.

In an interview with The 74, State Education Commissioner Mike Morath highlighted the importance of understanding religious references within classic American literature. “If you’re reading classic works of American literature, there are often religious allusions,” Morath said. He emphasized that the changes aim to reinforce students’ background knowledge of seminal American cultural works.

The Texas education system has taken several steps to root education in traditional values. Just last year, Texas allowed chaplains to serve as school counselors.

However, this move is likely to spark debate in a state already fraught with disputes over religious influence in public schools.

Mark Chancey, a religious studies professor at Southern Methodist University, acknowledges the educational value of the Bible but warns against hidden agendas. “The problem is that sometimes the legitimate reason of cultural literacy is used as a smokescreen to hide religious and ideological agendas,” he told The 74.

The curriculum redesign comes shortly after the Texas Republican Party passed a platform urging mandatory Bible instruction. 

The new curriculum extends beyond reading and writing fundamentals to encompass history, science, and the arts, embodying a classical education model. For example, to understand “Number the Stars,” students would learn about Jewish cultural practices and historical context.

The curriculum also includes Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which references the biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. “If you don’t know who Nebuchadnezzar is, you don’t know what King’s talking about,” Morath explained.

While integrating biblical references, the curriculum aims to respect the separation of church and state. “This is still a curriculum for public school and we’ve designed it to be appropriate in that setting,” Morath said.

However, the initiative has faced scrutiny, particularly over whether it crosses the line into religious indoctrination.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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