Georgia Drops Public School Bible Classes Due to Funding Problems October 25, 2011

Georgia Drops Public School Bible Classes Due to Funding Problems

Part of me wonders whether anyone argued in favor of getting rid of science classes instead… but it looks like the tough economy has led to a reduction of Bible courses in Georgia public schools:

Superintendents say interest has waned in the once-controversial classes and schools don’t have the money to pay for courses with only a few students enrolled. What’s more, budget cuts mean it now takes more students to fill up a class than ever before — some classes need more than 25 enrolled before they are considered affordable.

Some of that drop-off is due to students having little time in their class schedules for elective courses because they have to repeat the state’s new, tougher math courses or need an Advanced Placement class to help with college admissions, educators said.

Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams, a Republican from Lyons, said he hopes cash-strapped schools can begin offering Bible classes online to help cut down on costs but keep the courses available. Williams, the most powerful state senator in Georgia, was a backer of the law when it passed in 2006.

“It is unfortunate that schools are not able to offer these classes, but when times are tough local and state government have to make decisions based on the realities of their budgets, in the same way Georgia families and business have had to do with their own budgets,” Williams said.

Some parents say they wish their districts had the Bible classes because children need to know how influential the text has been on literature and pop culture.

“We need to bring that back into the schools because kids now, the new generation, just has so many issues,” said Wendy Labat, whose son is an eighth-grader in Clayton County, which has never offered the Bible electives. “Whether you believe in God or not, it’s still the word of God and kids need to have that experience.”

For what it’s worth, these courses are legal, since they’re (at least theoretically) presented impartially and they’re not required. There are also plenty of good reasons to be knowledgeable about famous Bible stories, but there’s no reason you can’t just work those into a broader Mythology course. I’m sure that could happen with no controversy whatsoever…

(Thanks to Jim for the link!)


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  • Jon

    Hemant, you are on fire today!

  • Keith Nielsen

    ha-HA!

  • Bob Becker

    Huh?  ““Whether you believe in God or not, it’s still the word of God ….”

    But the course will only deal with the Bible’s literary and historical impact. Uh huh. Sure.    

  • Rich Wilson

    I think a bible course would be fanTAStic in high schools.  So long as they really teach the bible and not a bowl of water spritzed cherries.

  • Ducky

    Good to hear, but mother of all that’s holy, where did you find that cartoon, Hemant? Why the hell do her boobs come out of her abdomen? Gah, my eyes!

  • Thin-ice

    Sounds like a bunch of Christian parents in Georgia are doing a shitty job of teaching their children the Bible, if they want the schools to do it instead! Lazy SOBs. Probably more like ignorant SOBs, since it’s likely they hardly know anything about the Bible or what’s in it.

  • Mike Williams

    Since when did these people care about literature and pop culture?

  • Anonymous

    I volunteer to teach a class on the interpretation of Ezekiel 23:20. 

  • Anonymous

    “Whether you believe in God or not, it’s still the word of God ”
    No, if I don’t believe in god, then it’s the word of men. Ignorant, patriarchal men. 

  • Matto the Hun

    rather like saying “Whether you believe in the Cobra Commander or not, he’s still a threat to world freedom”

  • Josh

    I almost took a “religion” course when I was in a GA high school. Then I found out it was taught at the church next door to the school and I decided to skip it.

  • Josh

    Since it became illegal to push the bible in government run schools?

  • Gerry

    Having these coursed dropped through attrition is as good a way as any I guess, though it would be nicer if it happened because of someone’s convictions!

  • Bluebury

    I know other people have quoted this but  “Whether you believe in God or not, it’s still the word of God and kids need to have that experience.”???
    Can people hear themselves talk?!

    I will say that as a literature major, I had a long discussion with one of my early brit lit profs and talked him into doing a unit on the bible.  When I was in his class, I missed many many biblical allusions and references because I had been raised in a super secular household and just didn’t know the references.  My essential point was “Lit classes tend to be taught with the assumption that everyone has the same basic knowledge of Christian mythology and that’s just not true for everone”

    I guess my point is, yes I do think that studying the bible is important to understand a lot of pop culture and literature.  Especially early brit and american lit.  
    All that being said, I highly doubt a public school in the south will teach it as mythology- especially after that quote.

  • Annie

    I wonder if the religion course was cut before or after art, music and PE?  That bit of info. would be very telling.

    And poor Wendy.  Being quoted using improper grammar…

  • When the economy finally rebounds, this or similar courses might be restarted, but I think this is an illustration of how in the long term religion will eventually end.  Not with an upheaval or a revolution, but a gradual process of the three A’s: Apathy, Atrophy and Attrition. 

    Depending on how optimistic or pessimistic I feel each day, my estimate of the number of generations in that process goes down or up.

  • ATL-Apostate

    As a Georgian (transplant, not native), I’m glad to see this. NOW, if they REALLY taught the Bible, the whole fucking thing, not just the warm fuzzy parts, I would TOTALLY be in favor of that.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    As someone that loved to watch GI Joe that gave me a good laugh.

  • Josh

    “It is unfortunate that schools are not able to offer these classes,
    but when times are tough local and state government have to make
    decisions based on the realities of their budgets, in the same way
    Georgia families and business have had to do with their own budgets,”
    Williams said.Um… there are several places in the great state of Georgia where they offer Bible classes– and for free no less!  –they’re called churches.

  • Quick class! “Women like big shlongs and gallons of sperm. Write that down, and you all get 100% for the class. Unless I think you look funny.”

  • Anonymous

    Shock.  Horror.  Students have better things to do that learn the Bible.  

  • Anonymous

    Some of that drop-off is due to students having little time
    in their class schedules for elective courses because they have to
    repeat the state’s new, tougher math courses or need an Advanced
    Placement class to help with college admissions, educators said.

    If they had this course they could be taught how to repeat their prayers to be accepted into college. Unfortunately, they might end up in Bob Jones University.

  • Anonymous

    It would require biological inquiry into the exact volume of equine emissions.  Bible study teaches science too!

  • Yeah, but at least this way it’s not “the godless atheists” fault. It’s entirely the conservative Christian demographics fault: they’ve spent so much time electing zealots that they forgot to elect people that can actually run government.

    This type of defeat is better, since it came from their own hands, mouths, and inaction. “With god everything is better” except your states budget, obviously.

  • Anonymous

    There are also plenty of good reasons to be knowledgeable about famous
    Bible stories, but there’s no reason you can’t just work those into a
    broader Mythology course. I’m sure that could happen with no
    controversy whatsoever…

    No, no, no.  Too obvious. 

    Call the course, “World Religions”, and you’ve got something that sound perfectly innocuous.  Plenty of religious people will start shuffling at this kind of name, because they know that exposing their children to the wild and wacky beliefs of other faiths will make their own look less certain.  I think few would want to publicly object and make their bigotry and biases known, though.