Kentucky’s curriculum standards would include the time designations B.C.E., or before the Common Era, and C.E., or Common Era, under regulations given initial approval by the state school board this month.
The references would be used together or interchangeably with the traditional date designations B.C., or before Christ, and A.D., for the Latin “anno Domini,” or “in the year of our Lord.”
The change was proposed to ensure that students are familiar with the newer, secular terms, which many authors, academicians, and others prefer.
“We did this because students may be presented with [these references] in other places,” said Lisa Y. Gross, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky education department, “and it will be helpful if students have at least some exposure to those terms.”
Dozens of religious groups and individuals have called state education officials in opposition, charging that the references are anti-Christian and reflect a misguided attempt at political correctness, she said.
The newer designations have been adopted in recent years for curricula in England and Australia, according to news reports. Illinois and Minnesota, meanwhile, have rejected such references in their academic standards.
The B.C. and A.D. designations were coined for the Gregorian calender, adopted in the 16th century under Pope Gregory XIII. The anno Domini era begins with the year that early scholars calculated for the birth of Jesus. The newer terms are used in Advanced Placement tests and in some textbooks, as well as in some periodicals commonly used in classrooms.