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Bibles in the public classroom.

Public schools are, in general, a wasteland when it comes to learning about God and the Bible. However, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS) is working to change that. Founded in 1993, the NCBCPS has developed a curriculum for an elective course on the Bible and its effect on literature and history. According to the NCBCPS website, their curriculum has been used in more than 150 U.S. school districts. The most recent school district to adopt the NCBCPS curriculum is in Odessa, Texas, on Dec. 21, 2005.

As could be expected, the NCBCPS faced criticism and controversy on its way to being implemented. However, the source of the criticism is somewhat surprising. It comes from the proponents of another Bible literacy program. The Ector County Independent School District in Odessa was also considering the curriculum prepared by the Bible Literacy Project, released to the public in late September 2005. The Bible Literacy Project textbook is called "The Bible and Its Influence," and has been favorably reviewed by many liberal groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress, and sports a full-page ad for the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); in contrast, the NCBCPS has support from groups such as American Center for Law and Justice, Focus on the Family, and the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy.

It is obvious that teaching students about the greatest book ever written is important. But how should the Bible be taught? Joseph Skinner, who attended the Odessa school board meeting at which the NCBCPS curriculum was approved, and who supports the vote for the NCBCPS curriculum, points out the important criterion: "I could see what they're saying [about the NCBCPS being sectarian], but if you want to teach the Bible, you don't want someone biased against the Bible teaching about it. It seems that the other program is biased against the Bible."
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Title Annotation:INSIDER REPORT; National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools' curricula
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 6, 2006
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