[UPDATE] Virginia Board of Education Social Science Standards
September 16, 2022 (Richmond, VA) -- This past Wednesday, the Virginia Board of Education agreed to proceed with the History & Social Science Standards of Learning review process, with the goal of approving a final draft of standards in January 2023.
As a reminder, the Virginia State Department of Education (VDOE) released their first draft of the History & Social Science Standards of Learning in late July, and Sikhi was included in “World History & Geography.” However, at their August 17th meeting, the Virginia Board of Education voted to postpone the first review of the standards until their September Board Meeting.
In response, the Sikh Coalition and the Sikh community of Virginia campaigned for continued inclusion of Sikhi in future drafts (as the current draft and future drafts remain subject to change). More than 500 public comments were submitted by Virginia sangat members to the Virginia Board of Education in just three weeks, and the Sikh Coalition facilitated a sign-on letter with seven Virginia gurdwaras. Finally, the Sikh Coalition submitted a sign-on letter with nine Virginia-based organizations (including the Virginia NAACP & Hamkae Center) advocating for the Virginia Board of Education to proceed by accepting the 2022 History & Social Science Standards of Learning draft with a continued emphasis on inquiry-based learning and incorporating diverse perspectives.
The Sikh Coalition has been long preparing for this effort to become complicated on account of state and national political debates regarding educational materials in classrooms. This is precisely why the Sikh Coalition and the Sikh community of Virginia has been engaged in the Virginia History & Social Standards of Learning since February 2021; Virginia sangat members submitted public testimony in March 2021, and we have been closely monitoring every step of the History & Social Science Standards of Learning since then.
In the coming months, the Commonwealth of Virginia will be holding community roundtable discussions and public hearings to learn more from community members on their thoughts regarding the standards. We will continue to engage with Virginia sangat members to ensure our voices are heard at these public hearings and community roundtables, so that inclusion of Sikhi in social studies classrooms in Virginia is realized. Your engagement over the past two years and engagement moving forward is crucial to the success of this campaign.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.