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The Sikh Coalition News
November 2, 2022
  • [UPDATE] Virginia Board of Education Social Science Standards 

    November 2, 2022 (Richmond, VA) -- On October 20th, the Virginia Board of Education, at the behest of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, delayed the History & Social Science Standards of Learning review process again, with the tentative goal of approving a final draft of standards between March and August 2023.

    We are not necessarily surprised by the delay given all the previous warning signs. However, we are alarmed that there are new variables being added to the review process at this stage, including potential curriculum changes that may alter the current draft and harm the viability of Sikhi’s inclusion. 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.”

    For this reason, we are actively preparing Sikh community members for the Virginia Board of Education Meeting on November 17th, 2022 in Richmond to ensure our community concerns are heard as this process continues.

    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 and Social Standards of Learning since February 2021. Virginia sangat members submitted public testimony in March 2021 and the Sikh Coalition and the Sikh community of Virginia campaigned for inclusion of Sikhi throughout September 2022. In September, 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 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.

    Between late November and December, 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 and we will continue to provide updates as appropriate. For more information, please contact education@sikhcoalition.org.

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