A financial gift worth over $1 million that has been raised from within the Tennessee community to enable schools in a Tennessee county to hire qualified Bible instructor for the teaching of Biblical history classes.
Last week, local nonprofit “Bible in the Schools” presented a check for $1.3 million to Hamilton County Schools, reimbursing the full cost of two county schools who ran a Bible History elective program during the 2017-2018 academic year. Some 4,068 public school students in grades 6-12 completed Bible History elective courses during the 2017-2018, a staggering feat.
“We are committed to providing our students with a world class education, which includes making sure students develop a broad understanding of the events, writings and ideas that have shaped Western society and the culture around them,” said School Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson, as reported by the Chattanoogan. “This gift — which was the largest philanthropic gift received by Hamilton County public schools during the 2017-2018 school year through community partnerships — empowered Hamilton County Schools to hire 20 qualified and certified Bible History teachers for the 2017-2018 academic year.”
“Bible in the Schools” is in its 97th year of operation, and is hoping to facilitate the teaching of God’s word in many more schools this fall.
“It is our privilege to deliver this gift that represents thousands of generous people who understand the importance of exposing young people to the Bible,” said Bible in the Schools’ Board Chairman, Chris Maclellan. “Every year, there is evidence that Bible History provides a unique benefit to public school students, at no cost to taxpayers, and has a lasting impact in student lives.”
“We look forward to having 25 participating schools this fall, and our board is greatly encouraged to have seen county-wide student access to Bible History increase from 67 percent to 81 percent in the past 24 months,” he continued. “Currently, courses are available as electives to over four fifths of all public middle and high school students in Hamilton County, and our hope is to see Bible History in the near future in all eligible schools.”
Bible in the Schools’ President Cathy Scott remarked that students often say that studying the Bible “empowers them to give more thought to their actions and to make healthier choices,” particularly in relation to “conduct, relationships, and self-care.”
“It is with deep honor that we present this gift that we trust will continue to enrich public school youth with the hope, wisdom, and knowledge of what is still the world’s most influential book,” Scott added.
Bible history classes were legally introduced into the schooling system following a 1980 federal court ruling in which it was agreed that such elective classes were constitutionally valid, as long as the Bible is treated as a “textbook.”
Bible in the Schools explains more of its mission on its official website:
“Bible History elective classes in the public schools are an opportunity for students to have a viewpoint neutral, foundational study – at no cost to taxpayers – of one of the cornerstone texts of world history, which helps students become culturally literate and better equipped to thrive and contribute to a global world.”
“I don’t always fully understand what my pastor is talking about,” one student told the nonprofit. “But this class has truly made me understand the Bible.”
(H/T: The Chattanoogan)