Read the Bills Act Coalition

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This is why I Love the Chesterfield School Board

In a time when schools are running away from anything to do with Christianity, the Chesterfield School Board (or most of them anyway) are not....Diane, Patty, Omar, David and the rest our good solid conservatives and great advocates for the children of Chesterfield. From the Chesterfield Observer:

The Bible will be one of the religious texts taught at three county high schools this fall with the introduction of a new comparative religions course. The course is the first time a religion-based option is being offered in county schools. It will be available as a single-semester elective to students at Cosby, Clover Hill and Matoaca high schools. ....The course offering was prompted by a group of parents and educators who asked the school board last year to consider implementing a Bible-based curriculum. Some members of that same group had previously asked the school system to teach intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution. ..."Upon hearing requests that certain religious studies be included as part of the division's course offerings, [Superintendent] Dr. Newsome assigned staff members responsible for the development of curriculum the task of considering the addition of religious content courses to the division's academic program," explained Tim Bullis, the school system's director of community relations. "This assignment resulted in the determination that CCPS [Chesterfield County Public Schools] will be offering a comparative religions class as a high school elective beginning this fall. Comparative religions, rather than a Bible course, will be offered because of the system's lack of experience in teaching any type of high school religion course." ...One school board member sees this course as the beginning of a Bible curriculum in county classrooms. "I think this country was founded on religious beliefs, and I feel it's appropriate for our kids to be taught the basic principles that the Bible teaches. I think the comparative religions course is the first step," said Matoaca School Board member Omarh Rajah. ..."There's certain things that the government says you should do, but there's the right, moral thing that has to be done, and the federal government has been wrong many times before…It's time that we restore moral values and principles back to our kids' lives," continued Rajah. ...But Marshall Trammell Jr., Bermuda school board member, is much more cautious on the issue. "This is a prudent step for us, but as a board, we have not discussed moving this forward into a Bible class. Some individual members may want to do that, but as a board, we have not discussed moving in that direction." ...In the past, Trammell has expressed concern over bringing religion to the classroom. "I prefer my religion to be taught at home, church and Sunday school," said Trammell during an interview last week. ...School administrators also remain cautious on whether the comparative religions course might one day be expanded to include a class in just the Bible. "We're open to the possibility," said Dr. Dale Kalkofen, assistant superintendent for instructional support. ..."We haven't ruled out teaching Bible in the future," said Bullis. ...School systems can offer courses in religion, but it's illegal for teachers to prophesize and express their own personal religious beliefs in the classroom. Courses must be taught from a purely academic standpoint and usually mirror similar classes offered at the college level. ...According to Bullis, the comparative religions course being offered will survey "the basic elements and historical developments of world religions. After establishing a common definition of the purpose of religion and ways to study religion, students study Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Other religions are studied as time and interest permit." ...The course will be taught by certified social studies teachers.

6 comments:

hoobie said...

The comments of some the Board members and the requests by parents for Bible curriculum reinforce my belief that Chesterfield is a cultural backwater. I'm glad I moved away in 1995 when ny kids were young.

Jody L. Wilcox said...

No Hoobie,you're wrong... Chesterfield is a great place to live and raise your children ...and the Chesterfield County School are some of the best educated, best hearted and genuine people I have ever met....I'm glad I moved TO Chesterfield

Alter of Freedom said...

Hoobie is nuts and obviously belongs in NOVA where the eduactional system is predicated upon liberal philosophies where the traditons of America have no place anymore. Its a matter of political correctness circumventing what is right and what is right is for the local community to determine exactly the curricula.
You know, no pledge of allegiance, no pics of the sitting President, no groups not authorized or sanctioned by school system. So much for using the word God as if its a bad word and the list goes on. Forget freedom of assembly or speech or freedom of worship which for some reason scares the b'Jesus outta those folks.
I firmly support the move for school choice as well and the fforts here in Chesterfield to provide an elective choice for parents and students.

I oove the arguement that our students are unprepared or too immature to face such electives in high school and yet as a freshman in college all of these options are available to our children. Whats the difference? Are not our taxes being paid into the school system the equivalent of paying tuition in college? So a senior is not mature enough to take a bible class or relgious history class while living with his/her parents but when they go off to college the following year its okay and acceptable.
Maybe by the time my girsl reach high school there will truly be a diversity of curricula for them to chose from. I applaud the SB and those citizens who push for diversity of thought and acceptance.

hoobie said...

AoF -- I never said that localities shouldn't able to set the curriculum; I said I am glad not to live somewhere where parents make these kind of choices.

A comparative religion class is not a bad thing. Let the kids learn about the downside of religion and faith in the supernatural, too. Maybe you will turn out a new generation of atheists. Be careful what you wish for.

My kid is a 4th Year at Virginia. I guess Chesterfield kids will be groomed for Liberty and Patrick Henry. Maybe Bob Jones if they are really sharp.

Jody L. Wilcox said...

Hoobie,
Did I read that correctly..you are glad you don't live in a place were parents decide what should be taught to their children (I am glad not to live somewhere where parents make these kind of choices)... implying that you would leave it others to teach your children? It is a parents duty to be responsible for the education of their children and this is not best served by letting others decide what is best. Also, you might want to look through the UVA course catalogue...they have classes dealing with religon my friend and maybe the many products of the Chesterfield County School District that attend UVA (several of my neighbors kids do) will check them out......

hoobie said...

Jody -- Yes, parents need to have input into the curriculum. I am saying I would not want to live in a place where parents are pushing for Bible study classes in the public schools. I don't have a problem with a comparative religion class, although I suspect many parents in favor of this class might not like the class content. I say this because it sounds like what many parents really want is Bible study, "intelligent design", and school prayer. I think any school system that gets caught up in this controversy wastes resources better spent on core competencies and is a sure path to decline.

I hope Chesterfield has better schools now than in the late 70s. I was fairly overwhelmed my first year in college.

My daughter took a religion class her 1st year, FWIW.