Cleaning up the mess left by the Texas Lege: Texas kids need help on history, Texas history, math, English and science, according to test scores. Texas colleges are fighting a wave of kids who graduate high school and head off to college without the key tools they need in writing and calculating.
But Republican state Rep. Warren Chisum has awarded them a “right” to get a Bible class, the better to avoid preparation for college, I suppose. No kidding.
Molly Ivins’ Ghost is pounding on your door trying to get your attention. From the San Antonio Express:
A new law soon will require all Texas public school districts to offer a Bible as Literature course if 15 or more students express interest, but one San Antonio public school has been offering such a course for more than 30 years.
Churchill High School in the North East Independent School District has offered the Bible as Literature since the 1970s, when English teacher Frances Everidge pioneered the course. Last year, Reagan High School, also in the NEISD, added one. New Braunfels High School has offered the course for a year, and Seguin High School will begin offering it in the fall.
Last spring, the Legislature passed House Bill 1287, along with two other bills regarding religion in public schools. HB 1287, which Gov. Rick Perry signed into law last summer, states that all school districts must offer the course as an elective at the high school level by the 2009-10 school year.
Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee the bill’s author, said that if 15 or more students express interest in the Bible as Literature course, districts must offer it.
School districts may not be able to provide the mathematics instruction kids need, but — By God! — they must provide instruction in the Bible.
If Warren Chisum were not real, Norman Lear, William Faulkner, the Coen brothers and the screenwriters for “Deliverance” couldn’t dream him up.
Chisum is at least up front about his bigotry against science, math, literature and other faiths:
Because the law requires a school district to offer the Bible as literature course if 15 or more students express interest, what if 15 or more students express interest in the Koran or any other religious text?
“The bill applies to the Bible as a text that has historical and literary value,” Chisum said. “It can’t go off into other religious philosophies because then it would be teaching religion, when the course is meant to teach literature. Koran is a religious philosophy, not of historical or literary value, which is what the Bible is being taught for.”
One marvels at the coincidence that Chisum never had to take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) — with history chops like that, it’s unlikely he could pass the test every high school kid must. (There is neither an education nor intelligence requirement to serve in the Texas legislature.)
unaware of the mandatory nature happy to hear the mandatory part had been stripped from of Chisum’s Folly. Nothing like a drunken-sailor-spending unfunded mandate from the legislature. Charles Darwin at least supported Sunday school classes with his personal fortune. Warren Chisum doesn’t have such ethics — he’s stealing the money from your property tax contributions to do it, while stealing education from the kids.
We need one of those New Yorker cartoons with some sage carrying a sign, “The End is Near.”
Cynical tip of the old scrub brush to Texas Ed Spectator (the blog formerly known as TexasEd, now in a new home)