"Thanks to these new educational standards, students across our state can learn about Sikhism--which means safer schools for my children in Omaha, and better cultural education for all," said community member Apandeep Singh. "The Sikh Coalition's work to not only advocate for the inclusion of Sikhism in state standards, but to also provide teachers with the tools to ensure that it is taught, is essential to increasing Sikh awareness."
The update to Nebraska’s social studies standards resulted from months of behind-the-scenes advocacy. In November 2018, we made the initial request
for Sikhism to be included in the new standards. However, when Sikhism was omitted from the first draft
in April 2019, the Sikh Coalition engaged with the local Sikh community in Nebraska to submit public comments and wrote again
to the Nebraska Department of Education. Unfortunately, Sikhism still remained excluded from the second draft
of the standards in June, so we kept pushing. Finally, after months of advocacy, Sikhism was included in the third draft
in September. To ensure that this update was secured, the Sikh Coalition engaged with all nine members of Nebraska’s State Board of Education to express our appreciation for this important change. The new standards were finally approved last week.
“It is wonderful that the Nebraska Department of Education listened to the needs of their local Sikh community to be represented and included in their state standards,” added Pritpal Kaur, Sikh Coalition Education Director. “Inclusive and accurate standards like these are becoming the benchmark for all communities.”
Local adoption and exploration of the new, more inclusive standards will start in the 2021-2022 school year, when local curriculum and instructional materials will be developed. The standards will then be fully implemented by 2023. The Sikh Coalition will continue to work closely with the Nebraska Department of Education during this process.
Nebraska is now the 12th in a growing list of states
that have worked with the Sikh Coalition to include accurate information about Sikhs in their public school social studies standards. These efforts are now positively educating more than 21 million students, or approximately 42% of all public school students nationwide. We look forward to adding even more states to this list in the months and years ahead.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.