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Texas Children Learn About Sikhs




On Friday, May 21, 2010, the Texas Board of Education voted to include information on Sikhs and Sikh practices in the state mandated curriculum for public school students.  

This marks a significant victory for the Sikh community as Sikhs and Sikhi have never before been included in the state-wide curriculum.

In 2011, Texas students will learn about Sikhs at three points during their public school education. Sixth graders will learn about Vaisakhi when they learn about Christmas, Yom Kippur, Ramadan, and Divali. High school students taking World History will learn about the origin of Sikhism and its basic beliefs. Finally, high school students will also learn locations of large Sikh populations in their World Geography classes.  

Texas Greatly Impacts the Rest of America

Texas is a very influential state for textbook manufacturers. State curriculum standards determine the content that will be included in new editions. Experts estimate that the decisions made by the Texas Board of Education affect the textbooks used in 46 other states because it is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks in the nation. In effect, Texas curriculum standards shape the content students will learn across the entire nation.

The Sikh Coalition commends the state's Board of Education and urges all state Boards of Education to take similar measures. Today's victory - which the whole community should cherish -  is an important first step towards ensuring that Sikh parents and students do not solely carry the burden of educating students on Sikhs and Sikh practices.  As we know, education is the best tool to fight bias and discrimination.

Texas Community Effort Makes a Difference

The Texas sangat, in coordination with the Coalition, produced over 400 letters last October to the Board of Education requesting that information on Sikhs be included in the state curriculum. Texas Sikhs also presented a petition to the Board in January which included over 1,000 signatures from Texas constituents requesting the Board to include Sikhism in the standards. The Sikh Coalition flew to Texas to attend four meetings of the Board of Education and organized local Texas Sikhs to testify in front of the Board.

The Sikh Coalition would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their dedication in this effort:  State Board of Education Member Patricia Hardy, Jasmine Kaur from Sikh Research Institute, Dan Quinn from Texas Freedom Network, Dr. Paul Henley from Texas State Teacher's Association, Monica Singh, Moni Katial, Izhaarbir Singh, Harpal Singh, Bobby Singh, Monique Singh, Shammi Gill, Gurmit Singh, Dr. Harbans Lal, Meharvan Singh, Preeti Singh Narula, Komal Kaur Suri, Jagmit Singh, Aman Sangha, Juspreet Kaur, Harmandeep Wadhwa, G.P. Singh, Dr. Stephen Nickle, Rubinder Kaur, Moninder Chadha, Mandeep Kaur and Harsimran Singh.


May 23, 2010


Conversation about this article

1: Harbans Lal (Arlington, Texas, U.S.A.), May 23, 2010, 7:54 PM.

We are very pleased with the decision of the Board of Education of the great State of Texas. We are also elated to see the participation and leadership of our new generation to undertake this project to its successful conclusion. I am very excited. Thanks to all who contributed.

2: Tajinder Singh Chahal (New Zealand ), May 24, 2010, 4:21 AM.

We all appreciate your seva. God will help you reach your destination ...

3: Aryeh Leib (Israel), May 25, 2010, 12:09 AM.

As a former resident of Texas, this warms my heart. Things surely have changed since I lived there. Y'all Sikhs can be justly proud of effective lobbying efforts!

4: Paramjit Kaur Cheema (Irving, Texas), May 29, 2010, 8:41 AM.

First of all, a big salute to all who did seva to bring this matter to the Board of Education. I am elated to know that Texas children will learn about Sikhism. Waheguru di mehar ...

5: Gurdeep Singh Sohal (United Kingdom), June 15, 2010, 1:08 PM.

Please be humble, steadfast and tenacious about your curriculum learning. Educate and be educated ...

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