As you know, the Sikh Coalition along with the greater Texas sangat was successful in adding Sikhism to the Social Studies state standards in the summer of 2010. Now that Sikhism is included in three areas of the standards – 6th grade, World History and World Geography – the Coalition wanted to ensure that Texas teachers would have up to date information about Sikhs to teach.
Plan A --- Change Textbooks to Include Sikhs
As the next step, the Coalition planned to work with national textbook publishers to ensure that new information printed about Sikhism pursuant to the new Texas state standards was up to date and accurate. However, due to state budget constraints, the textbook revision timeline was delayed.
Plan B --- Fill in the Gaps for Teachers Until Textbooks are Revised
The budgetary delay in revising the textbooks means that while Texas state teachers must teach about Sikhs since the new state standards went into effect in the Fall of 2011, they must do so on their own without the guidance of a textbook. In an effort to bridge this gap, and equip teachers with the information they would need to teach Sikhism, the Coalition’s Education Director hosted sessions at 5 different Social Studies teacher conferences across the state. To learn more about these educational conferences, please click here.
Recently, the Texas State Board of Education approved a new adoption cycle for instructional materials for multiple subject areas, including social studies. It is expected that new social studies textbooks will be adopted in 2014 for implementation in classrooms in the 2015-2016 school year.
While the Coalition is disappointed with this delay, we will continue working with the Board of Education as well as textbook publishers to ensure that every student in Texas learns correct information about Sikhs.
To this end, the Coalition has created teacher resources specifically for Texas educators and the new Social Studies standards. These resources can be found here, and have been disseminated to hundreds of teachers reaching thousands of students already.