As the fundamental needs of the state's education system face critical issues, some in the legislature have decided the state should, for some reason, teach a class about the fundamentals of the Bible.
Teacher pay is among the low end on a national scale, and a ranking based on student achievement shows that Tennessee ranks 41st out of 50 states, with a score of -8.48. Colleges across the state are looking at yet another year of ever-rising tuition costs, and without money from lottery ticket sales, many students simply could not afford to attend. The state's education association, TEA, offered a wish-list to the legislature for the past year in which needs for funding for everything from pay to building to having enough basic supplies are all mentioned.
The response from the legislature? Bible class.
A proposed bill mandates that every school district create a curriculum for an elective class about the Bible.
Backers of the bill, State Sen. Roy Herron and Rep. Mark Maddox, claiming that the current generation is the most "Biblically illiterate ever" offered some of their reasoning in this editorial from the Tennessean:
"If young people do not understand the importance and impact of the Bible on literature and art, in history and culture, where do they get their values? The television wasteland? Internet temptations? So much musical mess? In our coarsening culture, why not let students learn from the world's best-selling book?"
Now in this great state of Tennessee, it is pretty much impossible to travel more than a mile without seeing at least one, and usually many churches. Our state is without a doubt the very conservative heart of the Bible Belt -- justifying this type of class in our state doesn't add up.
If families have decided on their own to not attend or join a church in Tennessee, should our educational system step in to provide instruction on moral and religious history?