November 22, 2014 (Austin, TX) – After nearly six years of on-the-ground advocacy work led by the Sikh Coalition, the Texas Board of Education voted on Friday to approve textbooks that have corrected over 50 inaccuracies about the Sikh faith and its relationship to history.
The Friday vote was the culmination of countless in-person meetings, emails, phone calls, lobbying, and hundreds of hours poring over thousands of textbook pages to find and correct the inaccuracies. Some of the incredible mistakes that were corrected include, “…the religion is based on the Hindu devotion to Vishnu and the Muslim Sufis, or mystics,” and “Sikhism was an attempt to blend aspects of Hinduism and Islam.”
The Sikh Coalition corrected these errors to now read, “Sikhism emerged in 1469 in Punjab, rising from the religious experiences and teaching of Guru Nanak. It is a unique, independent religion.”
While the Sikh Coalition has worked with educators throughout the country to incorporate the study of Sikhism into the public school curriculum, we strategically invested long-term in Texas because many of the largest textbook manufacturers base their content on Texas. The Texas market for purchasing books dwarfs almost every other state so what Texas decides for their classrooms could follow in up to 46 states across the country.
This means that changes made in Texas pave the way for millions of children throughout the nation to learn about Sikhism accurately.
To learn more about the nearly six years of work that went into this victory, please check out the timeline of events here.
We all understand that many of the problems we face as a community originate from Americans not receiving the right education (or any education at all) about Sikhism. That’s why the Sikh Coalition continues to work tirelessly to create awareness through education in order to reduce ignorance and discrimination against the community.
In addition to six publishers making corrections, the three leading national publishers – Pearson Education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and McGraw Hill Education – have all told the Sikh Coalition that they hope to continue working with us to ensure that their national books have accurate information about Sikhs going forward.
The Sikh Coalition works to create a widespread change in the way students learn about basic Sikh beliefs and practices in schools across the country. The Texas victory on Friday was a monumental step in the right direction.
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