Bible history class to be part of student pre-enrollment packets

Sean McDaniel

A Bible history elective class discussed in November by school board members will be part of Mustang High School’s pre-enrollment fall packets. 

The class was one of 11 course offerings proposed by Superintendent Sean McDaniel and his staff for consideration by students during the 2014-2015 school year. Board members on Monday approved the course offering to secondary students in a unanimous vote taken during their regular December meeting.

Although members approved the Bible elective’s inclusion in student packets, they will have one more chance to review the class curriculum before the fall semester. That move was taken upon McDaniel’s suggestion, although it would be an unusual extra step in offering a new course, the superintendent said. Normally a new class goes through nine steps, beginning with an internal audit and request to add a course, which is then reviewed by the district’s curriculum committee. If approved by that body, school board members would then review the proposal.

“Typically step 4 is as far as a board of education will go,” McDaniel said.

In the case of the Bible history elective, McDaniel said he thought board members would feel more comfortable reviewing the course’s proposed curriculum. Steve Green, president and chief executive officer of Hobby Lobby gave a November presentation to board members about the proposal at McDaniel’s request. His staff at Green Scholars Initiative was working on components of at least the first proposed semester for the course, McDaniel said.

Green discussed his vision for the elective with board members, focusing on the Bible’s history. The Hobby Lobby CEO is working on a Washington, D.C. Bible museum scheduled for a 2017 opening. He said the Green Collection contains more than 40,000 biblical texts and artifacts. According to his Museum of the Bible website, Green and his staff were working with Dr. Robert E. Cooley, president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, to help develop the course curriculum.

“The courses will be offered as electives and will take the same model as the museum,” the website stated. “A year each is devoted to the history, impact and story of the Bible, with ninth grade encompassing a survey of all three.”

The course would be non-denominational and would not concentrate on any particular organized religion, Green said. The course would be appropriate – and now legal – after Oklahoma adopted a 2010 law allowing it to be offered by school districts in the state.

If students show interest in the class and it is included on next fall’s schedule, Mustang would be the first school district utilizing Green’s curriculum, he said. Because the course is offered as an elective, students can choose whether or not they are interested in it, Green said.

Other courses approved by board members for next year included:

  • Advanced Placement Human Geography;
  • Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Speech Debate I;
  • Eighth-Grade Leadership Citizenship;
  • Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Gateway to Technology;
  • Sports Entertainment and Marketing;
  • Mock Trial;
  • Archery and Fishing;
  • Stagecraft/Technical Theatre;
  • Freshman Success; and
  • Pre-AP Spanish I.

Board members were expected to review the Bible history class proposed curriculum by their April board meeting. If issues cropped up or the board could not agree to course details, the district would be forced to push the class offering back, McDaniel said.