Essentials in Education (EIE), a non-profit educational organization that has taught the Bible academically in public schools since 2005, is grateful that a recent article by USA TODAY and a subsequent tweet from President Trump supporting the importance of teaching Bible literacy in public schools has reignited interest in this vital issue that is so important to the education of our country’s youth.
USA Today’s article, however, failed to note that in 1963 the Supreme Court ruled that teaching the Bible in public schools is constitutional if it is “presented objectively as part of a secular program of education.” Our children are protected by this ruling and by The Bible & Public Schools, A First Amendment Guide, published by The Bible Literacy Project and the First Amendment Center and endorsed by National School Boards, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and others including People for the American Way.
EIE has led the movement working with state legislatures to encourage public schools to teach the Bible academically. In 2006, Georgia’s legislature became the first to encourage the teaching of the Bible academically as important. South Carolina and Texas followed in 2007, then Tennessee in 2008, Oklahoma in 2010, Arizona and South Dakota in 2012, Arkansas in 2013 and Kentucky in 2017. All these legislation efforts had bi-partisan support for a policy which supports students’ better understanding of the world around them.
Chuck Stetson, CEO of Essentials in Education, noted that, “Our book The Bible and Its Influence, the only Bible textbook deemed First Amendment safe, is compliant with The Bible & Public Schools: A First Amendment Guide and teaches the Bible purely academically, giving students a better understanding of the English language, English literature, history, art, music and culture. This textbook is now being taught as a high school elective in over 650 high schools in 45 U.S. states. Countries around the world have taken note and EIE is actively working with legislators in five other continents.”
A survey revealed that 98% of U.S. high school English teachers believe a child’s education is best served by understanding the Bible, citing that many preparation exams will reference points and texts from the Bible. Shakespeare’s plays alone contain over twelve hundred references to the Bible, demonstrating the centrality of Biblical knowledge to modern education.
To that end, Essentials in Education is continuing to work with state governments to pass legislation which encourages public schools to teach the Bible academically. Teaching the Bible academically is not only legal, it is essential to education and the smart thing to do.
Chuck Stetson is the CEO of Essentials in Education, the co-author of The Bible and Its Influence and founder of The Bible Literacy Project and http://www.teachthebibleinschools.org
SOURCE Essentials in Education