The Tennessee State Board of Education Thursday approved a curriculum that will both codify Bible classes in public high schools and provide schools a roadmap on how to teach the Christian text.
In a meeting this morning, a committee established by the board presented the six-page document, which includes guidelines on everything from which translation of the Bible students can use (their choice) to general objectives of such a class, which include teaching the history and literature of the text, as well as its ongoing social and religious ramifications.
The class is considered an elective. In the past, different school districts were allowed to establish their own approaches to Bible courses. In 2008, the General Assembly passed legislation to adopt a statewide curriculum for an academic Bible study that focused more on the intrinsic qualities of the text than any one religious group’s interpretation.
To that end, the curriculum includes this directive for teachers and school administrators: “It is important to remember that the student’s experience, or in some cases lack of experience with the Bible, may influence their perceptions of the assignments. Be aware that a broad range of religious and nonreligious perspectives among the students [sic] and be cognizant of student rights to their personal views.”