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What do you think of this as one of the electives taught at a public middle/high school?

My daughter starts middle school next fall. I attended a parent orientation at which I learned that in addition to the usual courses offered, she will have to choose an elective each semester. The public school is in the IB (International Baccalaureate) Programme. In addition to English, a foreign language (French, Spanish or German), Humanities (Ancient Civilizations), Math, Science and Computers, she will have to choose from the following electives: Band or Strings (all year) or Chorus/Art/Bible History (choose two). Here is the description of the Bible History class:

History/SS Grades 6-8

 

Social Studies - Grade 6

Social Studies - Grade 7

Social Studies - Grade 8

Bible History - Grades 6-8
Teacher: XXXXXXXXXX (I've deleted the teacher's name)

In Bible History the text is the Bible.  Historical setting, customs, maps, etc. are utilized to enhance stories in the text.  The sixth grade course focuses on Genesis and students study (1) early civilization according to the book of Genesis and (2) the forefathers (patriarchs) of the nation of Israel.  The seventh grade course covers the book of Exodus.  In this class we study the life of Moses and the development of the nation of Israel.  It takes the nation from slavery in Egypt to freedom and includes some to the experiences on their way to Canaan, “the promised land”  Also included will be an introduction of the origin and development of the Bible and where the book of Exodus fits in the story of the Bible.  Eight graders study the Life of Jesus as told in the book of Luke.  It will include some information from Matthew, Mark and John.  There will be an entire unit on the historical setting of Jesus’ life.

This, I reiterate, is a public school.  They aren't offering any other religion courses, and seem to be offering this "history" class as if it is fact--notice that the only text for the class is the bible itself.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  It doesn't seem very well-rounded for a public school, and the principal has been chastised for leading the student body in prayer at graduation and other school events.  I have to admit I find it unsettling.  I haven't decided yet whether to question the principal or the school board about it, though.

What are your thoughts on this?

Answer Question
 
jsbenkert

Asked by jsbenkert at 5:23 PM on Jan. 3, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (137)
  • If it is an elective, it is not as if she is being FORCED to take it. If you are not comfortable with it, tell her that is not one of the choices she can make.
    layh41407

    Answer by layh41407 at 5:25 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Bible history is an elective right? I see nothing wrong with it since it's a choice to take the class an not required.
    When I was in high school the only religions take you could take was Mormon classes
    mommy_of_two388

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 5:26 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Its an elective. If you dont want her to take the class she doesnt have to. Obviously some parents like it enough that they offer it and maybe it is funded differently since it is an elective.
    gemgem

    Answer by gemgem at 5:27 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I don't like that the bible is the ONLY religious text being examined. Why not examine several different religions?
    I'd have issues with my child taking that class.
    sahmamax2

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 5:28 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Well maybe you should tell them that.
    But I don't see a problem with it because students have a choice to take this class or not.
    idaspida

    Answer by idaspida at 5:28 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Maybe you should suggest they add other religious text to that class? See how they react to that.
    sahmamax2

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 5:29 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • Be glad they are venturing into religious territory instead of refusing your child her rights. The course is an elective, so she can elect to take it or any other elective offered. What damage could knowledge of the Bible do to any child? I applaud the courage and efforts of this school's principal.
    neebug3766

    Answer by neebug3766 at 5:29 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • OP, I know we live in the same area so I am curious as to which middle school this is. You can pm me if you want to.

    JeremysMom

    Answer by JeremysMom at 5:29 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • I know there are some states that use a loophole to church and state by allowing kids to go to church for bible study during school hours and calling it an independent study class (with the obvious side effect of leading to peer pressure and discrimination against the handful of students who stay at school and don't go to church for that hour). In and of itself, having an optional class on campus (where it obviously wouldn't be large enough to encompass the entire school save a handful, so less obvious to single out who doesn't take it) seems preferable to that mess. However, in light of the info about that specific principal at that specific school, I still don't know that I'd consider it a safe atmosphere in general.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 5:31 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

  • "Be glad they are venturing into religious territory instead of refusing your child her rights"

    Except it's not religious territory, it's CHRISTIAN territory. And what "rights" are they offering that she was being refused?
    sahmamax2

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 5:31 PM on Jan. 3, 2011

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