A Texas school district had dropped a controversial Bible curriculum in order to settle a lawsuit.
The Ector County Independent School District in 2005 adopted a curriculum produced by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS), a North Carolina group. Critics, including Americans United, have charged that the NCBCPS curriculum is rife with fundamentalist Christian dogma and inaccurately teaches that America was founded to be a “Christian nation.”
Representing eight parents in the district, the American Civil Liberties Union and People For the American Way Foundation sued to block the use of the curriculum, asserting it would violate the separation of church and state.
The lawsuit alleged that the course material treated “the story of creation, the life of Noah and his ark” and other material from the Bible as factual history.
When word got out that the district was considering the curriculum, some parents began to mobilize and speak out. After the board approved its use, Shannon Baker, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, circulated an e-mail applauding the move that read, “Take that, you dang heathens!”
The NCBCPS claims its curriculum is taught in hundreds of schools nationwide, but the group refuses to provide a list and the numbers are suspect. After the settlement, Jeremy Gunn, director of the ACLU’s religious freedom program, warned other schools about the materials.
“Anyone who is paying attention would realize that it’s very risky to teach the course, because it is unconstitutional,” Gunn told The New York Times.