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Barrow school committee reviews Bible curriculum

WINDER - A review committee got its first look at a curriculum and two proposed textbooks for the Literature and History of the Old and New Testaments classes. If approved, those classes could be offered fall 2008.

Textbooks

Two textbooks under consideration are "The Bible and its Influence," by Cullen Schippe and Chuck Stetson, and "The Bible in History and Literature," published by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools.

The state funds the classes but contributes no additional funding for textbooks and supplemental materials, according to Claire Miller, executive curriculum director.

The Bible will be the main textbook, according to Miller. The committee will choose which version of the Bible to use, but state legislation gives the teacher the right to select a different version while the student may opt for a third version.

"If students have all different versions of the Bible, the teacher will be like herding cats," said Board of Education Member Lynn Stevens.

Curriculum

The state board of education permits the New Testament course to contain topics that cover the life and parables of Jesus and the life and travels of Paul.

Topics in the Old Testament course can include the history and kingdom of Israel and the poetry of the Old Testament.

Both courses will study the influence of the Old and New Testament history on literature, art, law, government, customs morals and events.

The class must be taught by a teacher certified to teach social studies or language arts.

Questions to be resolved

Committee members raised questions regarding how the courses will be monitored and how the courses will be taught. Should they be taught by genre, by focusing on poetry or chronologically? Committee members will attempt to resolve these issues by the next meeting scheduled for Aug. 7.