Pete Austin III, of the local group Bible in the Schools, lauded Hamilton County School Superintendent Jesse Register on Thursday for his support of the Bible History classes taught in county schools.
“I am so pleased to have a superintendent of schools that believes teaching the Bible in public schools is a valid educational pursuit,” Mr. Austin told the Downtown Rotary Club.
“We wouldn’t have Bible classes in Hamilton County Schools without Jesse Register,” he said.
Mr. Austin’s group, Bible in the Schools, reimburses the school system the full costs - salary and benefits - of all 14 Bible History teachers serving in 17 middle and high schools across Hamilton County. Mr. Austin said their financial support has kept Bible classes in the local system for the last 81 years.
The speaker answered critics of his program who say scriptural instruction is not educational or effective. He cited a study in Oakland, California, which examined students in an elementary school that allowed their students to go off campus for one hour of Bible instruction every week.
“The study found that students who participated in the Bible classes performed better than their classmates as a whole in almost every category,” Mr. Austin said.
He cited religious and academic leaders who have endorsed the educational value of the Bible, then turned to the political giants of America’s past, like Ronald Reagan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the country’s first president.
“George Washington once said ‘It is impossible to govern the world without God or the Bible,” Mr. Austin reported. “Most of our presidents in the United States thought highly of the Bible.”
Mr. Austin said he was proud of the grassroots work of Bible in the Schools. “We have devoted our time and resources to see that these Bible courses continue,” he said. “It’s made up of people just like you and me who believe in the Bible and want to see it taught to boys and girls across this county.”