UPDATE : Bible Curriculum in Public Schools

By Perry Lewis

education policy smallOne year ago the Bible Curriculum in Public Schools was presented to Superintendent Tim Mitchell of the Rapid City School District, which is the largest district in South Dakota, and then presented to this audience.

We believed this great curriculum of history and literature was well received by Dr Mitchell and we know you received it well. It seemed to be moving in the direction for approval as an elective course in Rapid City High Schools.

A few weeks ago I met again with Dr. Mitchell. The climate of this meeting was substantially different than the first meeting in the following ways:

  1. Up front he told me he had been attacked by several people soon after it was announced the Bible Curriculum would be considered. Note: You may remember a very negative editorial by the Rapid City Journal followed by several negative letters to the editor. Shortly thereafter Dale Bartscher of Family Heritage Alliance had published in the same paper a very positive response.
  2. Dr. Mitchell told me he was overwhelmed (my word) by the Common Core planning and execution.
  3. He also said he works at the direction of the School Board and they gave him six directives to be his priority.
  4. Dr. Mitchell then told me, “There is no room for any electives that do not apply to higher education”.
  5. Finally he told me the Bible Curriculum concept is back to square one, and frankly it appeared to me he is not at all interested at this point in trying to move it forward.

May I suggest that Dr. Mitchell’s position, in view of Common Core [Standards], is probably not much different than Superintendents across the state, and nation for that matter.

Does Common Core and its dictates mean the end of the effort? Wars are seldom won with a single battle. Is it time for our legislature to become more proactive in school curriculum with legislation that reflects the standards we would want for our children? How many Christians are serving on school boards?

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