The following is from the Oct. 28, 2011, edition of the Christian Post. Religious studies professor Mark Chancey provided expertise for this story.
November 2, 2011
By Eryn Sun | Christian Post Reporter
Bible education classes offered in some Georgia public schools are purportedly dwindling in number, with fewer students interested in taking the religious courses.
Waning interest has caused administrators to cut back on the number of classes as a result, not able to afford small classroom sizes due to budget cuts, The Associated Press reported.
Where at least 25 students were needed to keep a class running, only about a dozen students were signing up for the elective Bible courses, one administrator in Georgia described....
Mark A. Chancey, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University believed that a decline in enrollment for Bible courses was fairly typical.
“Bible courses have been around for decades,” Chancey, a member of the Society of Biblical Literature Working Group on the Bible and Public Education, told The Christian Post via email.
“Some individual courses are taught year after year, but in other cases districts find that there isn't enough student demand to justify offering them regularly. In most cases, courses in individual school districts just come and go. Statistics from mid-century show this was the case even 50 years ago.”
Appropriate materials were hard to find, state guidelines were often insufficient, and teacher training for these particular classes were usually not available, Chancey also commented.
“I feel for teachers who want to teach this course and are dedicated to giving the material and their students their very best efforts and yet can’t get adequate support from their state or from the local district.”
Despite a drop in the number of classes and difficulties in funding and training, he predicted that Bible education classes would never disappear completely.