Oklahoma AG's Office: Superintendent Lacks Authority to Decide Curriculum, In Reference To New Bible Requirement

The State Attorney General's Office said the State Superintendent does not have the legal authority to decide the content of curriculum that is taught in public schools. State Superintendent Ryan Walters wants to require Oklahoma classrooms to implement the Bible in lesson plans.

Monday, July 1st 2024, 6:39 pm



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The State Attorney General's Office said the State Superintendent does not have the legal authority to decide the content of curriculum that is taught in public schools.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters wants to require Oklahoma classrooms to implement the Bible in lesson plans.

A Tulsa Public Schools Board member said it is up to the school boards, district administrators, teachers and parents to come together to approve curriculum.

In an email, State Attorney General Gentner Drummond's office said the superintendent does not have legal authority to decide content of curriculum, and said Oklahoma law clearly enshrines local control.

John Croisant is the Tulsa Public Schools Board Vice President and represents District 5.

"There's a reason we have elected officials in school boards, to make these decisions for what's best for that local community,” Croisant said.

In an interview with State Superintendent Ryan Walters, he said districts must comply despite how curriculum decisions are made now. Walters said the Bible will be taught in every classroom.

AMY: "What is your message to school board members who say, 'Hey, we're the ones to decide what goes in the curriculum at our school district?”

WALTERS: "They will comply with Oklahoma academic standards, which clearly states that you are to teach the religion and the beliefs of these individuals that is the Bible, so they will comply with these things."

Walters did not explain how school boards would comply and also responded to what the AG's office said.

AMY: "What do you say when the Attorney General comes out and says, 'Hey, you don't have the authority to mandate that?"

WALTERS: "Yeah, we are requiring it. We will require every district to teach from the Bible."

AMY: "How will you enforce this? What if a teacher says, ‘No’?

WALTERS: "They can't. Again. You don't get to pick and choose what academic standards you follow."

"Ultimately, there's no power behind these statements,” Croisant said.

Croisant said the power still lies with school boards.

"We're gonna make decisions as a school board, not myself personally, but as a board, of what kind of curriculum and what kind of things students are going to be using in the classroom,” he said.

News On 6 asked Walters which version of the Bible would go in the classroom.

Walters said, "Whichever one is historically accurate."

Walters said guidance for teachers is coming from his office in a few weeks.

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