Oklahoma State Superintendent Announces All Schools Must Incorporate Bible, Ten Commandments Into Curriculum

Nathan J. Fish/The Oklahoman/USA Today Network/File

A Bible is illuminated by a stained glass window in the sanctuary of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023.


All Oklahoma schools are required to incorporate the Bible and the Ten Commandments into their curriculum, effective immediately, the state’s education director announced in a memorandum Thursday.

At a State Board of Education meeting, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters said the Bible is “one of the most fundamental documents used in the Constitution and the birth of our country.”

“It is abundantly clear to us that in the Oklahoma Academic Standards, under Title 70, repeatedly, the Bible is a necessary historical document to teach our children the history of this country, to have a complete understanding of Western civilization, to have an understanding of the basis of our legal system,” Walters said.

Every classroom in the state, grades 5 through 12, must have a Bible and all teachers must teach from the Bible in the classroom, Walters said.

04:01 – Source: CNN

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The Oklahoma memorandum follows a law passed in Louisiana on June 19 that requires all public classrooms to display the Ten Commandments. A group of Louisiana parents and civil rights organizations are suing the state over the new law, saying the legislation violates both U.S. Supreme Court precedent and the First Amendment .

Oklahoma’s directive “is consistent with educational standards approved circa May 2019, with which all districts must comply,” according to a press release.

“The Bible is an indispensable historical and cultural touchstone,” Walters said in the statement. “Without a foundational knowledge, Oklahoma students are unable to properly contextualize the foundations of our nation. This is not just a curricular directive, but a critical step in ensuring our students understand the core values ​​and historical context of our country.”

The new memo comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked an effort to create the nation’s first state-funded religious charter school. The court on Tuesday ordered the state to terminate its contract with St. Isidore Catholic Virtual School in Seville in a 6-2 decision with one recusal.

“Under Oklahoma law, a charter school is a public school,” Justice James R. Winchester wrote for the court. “As such, a charter school must be non-sectarian. However, St. Isidore will evangelize the Catholic faith as part of its school curriculum while being sponsored by the state. »

Walters called the decision “one of the worst” decisions the state Supreme Court has made and vowed to “fight back.”

“What the court did was rule against Oklahoma parents who demanded more choices for their children. We have a great opportunity to make sure that parents have the most options of any parent in the country here in Oklahoma, giving them the opportunity to go to a public school, charter schools, private schools. This would have been the most unique charter. school in the country,” Walters said.

“I want you all to know that we will continue to fight this, we want to continue to provide parents with the opportunity to send their children to quality schools.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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