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The Sikh Coalition News
November 18, 2020
  • Cautiously Positive Progress on Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum

    November 18, 2020 (Sacramento, CA) -- Earlier this month, the California Department of Education (CDE) released new proposed edits for California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC).

    The proposal includes many of the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement’s initial recommendations for the ESMC and the sample lesson plan that we submitted back in March, with the support of 52 California gurdwaras. This is a positive development, but the final outcome in this process is far from finalized.

    “We are pleased that the CDE has taken this positive step in recognizing the cultural and historical significance of the California Sikh community,” said Pritpal Kaur, Sikh Coalition Education Director.” However, it is critical to understand that this draft is still to be deliberated--and so our work continues, while many other minority communities also keep fighting for the positive recognition they deserve in the ESMC.”

    Now, the State Board of Education and Instructional Quality Commission will meet today and tomorrow to discuss the ESMC. Accordingly, the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement have prepared a small number of Sikh Californians to give public comment recognizing the CDE for their positive progress, but also urging for the proposed changes to be fully adopted and appropriately placed in the curriculum.

    “The CDE has recognized the Sikh community through an appendix inclusion,” said Naindeep Singh, the Jakara Movement’s Executive Director. “However, we seek to ensure Punjabi Sikh histories that have been shaped by anti-Asian discrimination, liberation and decolonial politics, and the political economy of the state are shared, celebrated, and challenged--not only for the stories they told of a California past, but the stories they tell of a California future."

    Of note, the latest summary of public comment also includes mention of the fact that several California state legislators are supportive of the inclusion of Sikh stories--the result of deliberate outreach by the Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement over the past two months, including a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 25 assemblymembers and state senators, in support of telling Sikh stories through the ESMC.

    The Sikh Coalition and the Jakara Movement will provide further updates and action items, if necessary, after this latest meeting. In the meantime, we continue to argue for an inclusive ESMC that accurately and appropriately represents all of the diverse groups that make up the rich, diverse cultural fabric of California.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.

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