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The Sikh Coalition Avaaz
February 5, 2021
  • Fateh! New North Carolina State Standards for Social Studies Move Forward

    February 5, 2021 (Raleigh, NC) -- Yesterday afternoon, the North Carolina State Board of Education voted in favor of adopting new K-12 Social Studies Standards that are poised to include Sikhism in the associated content and examples.

    “The Sikh Coalition is pleased that the State Board of Education will be updating the K-12 Social Studies Standards with more diverse and inclusive material,” said Pritpal Kaur, Sikh Coalition Education Director. “We are also grateful that Sikhism is poised to be included among the content and examples to accompany these new standards. More robust education--including a celebration of diversity and an honest look at injustices, racism, and discrimination past and present--will benefit our children now and for the rest of their lives.”

    To understand more about why this victory matters, read the op-ed from North Carolina father of three Pawanjit Singh, which we successfully placed this week. The Sikh Coalition would like to thank the numerous North Carolina sangat members for their unwavering patience, advocacy, and support throughout this process; this positive outcome is years in the making and only possible because of their shared efforts.

    The standards in North Carolina are structured uniquely in comparison to the other 14 states in which the Sikh Coalition has successfully secured the accurate inclusion of Sikhism. Sikhism will be included in the accompanying documents--rather than the actual standards or objectives--from which teachers can draw classroom materials. Once the standards are implemented, they will provide the opportunity for North Carolina’s 1.4 million public schoolchildren to learn about Sikhism alongside other world religions.

    The Sikh Coalition has been monitoring the North Carolina review process since 2016. In January and April of 2020, we worked closely with members of the North Carolina sangat to submit public comments asking the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) social studies standards writing committee to 1) ensure that Sikhism was included in the content and examples in the existing list of world religions and 2) consider changing the structure of the standards to put all world religions, including Sikhism, explicitly in the standards and objectives. (While this second ask was not ultimately implemented, we have successfully established groundwork for future engagement).

    We remain in close touch with the NCDPI and State Board of Education--most recently sending them a letter at the start of this week--encouraging them to press forward with changes that reflect a focus on inclusivity and diversity as well as an honest examination of our nation’s experience with injustices, racism, and other discrimination. In the months ahead, we will continue working with the NCDPI to finalize the Sikh-specific material in the content and examples and to ensure that this material reaches teachers and students across the state; the new standards and these accompanying documents will be implemented later this year.

    Thanks to more than 10 years of advocacy work, the Sikh Coalition has ensured that more than 48 percent of the nation’s public school students have access to accurate and appropriate information about Sikhism.

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

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