Bible Literacy Project (BLP), publisher of a student textbook designed for public school courses on the Bible, said that 470 schools in 43 states nationwide are now using its course.
Texas leads the nation in implementation of Bible literacy courses, with more than 100 schools now using the textbook, while Georgia boasts 51 schools. Eight states now have more than 5 percent of public high schools teaching this course: Georgia (12.3 percent), Alabama (9.1 percent), Indiana (8.2 percent), Texas (7.5 percent), South Carolina (7 percent), Tennessee (6 percent), North Carolina (5.8 percent) and Kentucky (5 percent).
In addition, “The Bible and Its Influence” is achieving acceptance in larger districts. This fall, this course will be taught in 30 districts with enrollment of more than 20,000 students. “Larger school districts often require a district-wide curriculum review, with public review and comment on the curriculum and multiple layers of approval,” said Chuck Stetson, BLP’s CEO. “Our track record of successful implementation and strong community support has given larger districts confidence that our materials meet the educational needs of their diverse student populations.”
Among the new schools offering the course this fall are 15 pilot schools, which have received free textbooks from BLP to encourage the introduction of the textbook in their area. BLP plans to continue this program throughout the 2010-11 school year for districts that qualify.
This fall, Oklahoma implements HB 2321, a law encouraging public school districts to offer Bible literacy courses. BLP will be working with educators across the state to implement this course in their districts. Oklahoma joins Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas in passing legislation to support Bible literacy in public schools. While teaching about the Bible is legal nationwide, these five states have used legislation to raise public awareness and to promote statewide implementation of these courses.
During this school year, Bible Literacy Project will be attending 26 conventions nationwide to reach school board members, superintendents, curriculum developers, and English teachers with information about the textbook.
Because only seven states remain in the organization’s quest to be utilized in all 50 states, Bible Literacy Project is offering a free class set of textbooks to the first public school in Delaware, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wyoming ready to teach the course. “When one school implements the course, we quickly make contact with neighboring schools who want to try it too,” said Stetson. “We welcome the opportunity to show these remaining states the strength of our program.”
Bible Literacy Project is a non-partisan, non-profit endeavor to encourage and facilitate the academic study of the Bible in public schools.