Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tennessee Legislature Passes Bill To Prevent Religious Indoctrination In Schools

As reported by The Tennesseean, the Tennessee legislature yesterday gave final passage and sent to the governor for his signature HB 1905 (full text). The bill, responding to concern about a middle school social studies unit on Islam, is intended to prevent religious indoctrination. It provides:
The inclusion of religion in textbooks, instructional materials, curriculum, or academic standards shall be for educational purposes only and shall not be used to promote or establish any religion or religious belief.
The bill requires local school boards to develop, with public comment, policies on inclusion of religion in the curriculum. It requires schools to make syllabuses for courses in grades 6-12 publicly available. It calls for revision of the current social study standards and requires teacher training institutes to provide instruction on "what is constitutionally permissible when teaching religious content and strategies for dealing with religious content in curriculum that are educationally sound, fair, neutral, and objective." [Thanks to Blog from the Capital for the lead.]