March 11, 2020 (Topeka, Kansas) -- Today, the Kansas State Board of Education voted on a new set of social studies standards for Kansas public schoolchildren that include Sikhism for the first time ever. The standards will start to be implemented in the 2021-2022 academic year.
With this vote, more than 492,000 children in Kansas’ public schools will now have the opportunity to learn about Sikhism in a constitutionally appropriate manner. These students will join approximately 22,536,783 others in 13 other states, representing roughly 45 percent of the public school student population nationwide.
"We are delighted that Sikhism has been included in the Kansas state standards, which means that my children will feel represented and included in their classrooms," said Ranjit Singh Lamba, a longtime resident of Overland Park, Kansas. "Importantly, other students will now have an opportunity to learn about Sikhs, who have been their neighbors in Kansas for generations."
The Sikh Coalition’s education team previously reviewed these draft standards in January; accordingly, Sikhism is now included in the ‘suggested instruction’ for Middle Level Geography and Upper Level World History. We were also happy to assist Hartej Singh (pictured above) and his family in voicing their support for these changes before the Board of Education: Yesterday morning, he joined other citizens from across the state to give a short public comment in favor of the new standards.
“Families who are willing to advocate for Sikhi’s inclusion in schools are essential to this effort,” said Pritpal Kaur, Sikh Coalition Education Director. “This is a generational effort to raise Sikh awareness by ensuring that teachers and students have access to accurate and appropriate information about our faith, and the Sikh Coalition will continue to encourage additional states to follow Kansas’ lead.”
In addition to advocating for more states to adopt social studies standards that include Sikhism, the Sikh Coalition remains committed to ensuring that educators have the resources they need--including lesson plans, materials, and more--to teach about Sikhism in an effective and appropriate manner. If you are interested in the content that we have compiled for both educators and Sikh parents, be sure to check out our Back to School Toolkit
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.