Georgia school districts could offer high school courses on the Bible, under a bill passed by both chambers of the legislature.
Under the plan, the state education agency would adopt a curriculum for classes on both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The courses would be optional for school districts and students.
The courses would cover the Bible’s influence on literature, law, music, culture, and other aspects of society. The bill would require the Bible to serve as the “basic text” for the course, but would also allow other materials to be used.
Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, a nonprofit organization with offices in Arlington, Va., and at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., said he doesn’t think the final version of the bill has enough safeguards in place to keep it from being unconstitutional.
Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican, has not taken a position on the bill, according to his press office.
A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2006 edition of Education Week