Minority Religions Weigh in on Textbook Edits

November 17, 2005

Source: Jewish Times - Mid Atlantic Media. Owings Mills, MD


On November 17, 2005 the Jewish Times reported, "Sixth-graders in America's most populous state will soon learn that Romans, not Jews, crucified Jesus. The lesson could have been different had some of the textbooks approved by California this week gone through in their proposed form. But when the California State Board of Education voted Wednesday to adopt new social studies textbooks for elementary and middle school students, it required nearly 1000 edits and corrections to be made to the materials... In its Nov. 9 meeting, the state board of education voted unanimously to adopt 10 publishers' educational programs, including textbooks and related materials... Close to 80 speakers addressed the education board during its five-hour meeting here, and the 13 board members listened to all [of] them carefully, discussing their major points publicly before voting on adoption... The vast majority of the speakers were Hindu and Sikh, communities who said they felt slighted by all the publishers' offerings. 'Hinduism is not treated with the same respect as Christianity or Judaism,' complained Dr. Mihir Meghani, president of the Hindu American Foundation. 'The sacred scriptures of Hinduism are referred to as legends or myths,' he said... Sikh speakers told the board that although there are almost 600,000 Sikhs in the United States, half of them in California alone, none of the textbooks discusses Sikhism or shows pictures of Sikhs so children can learn to identify and respect them. These complaints highlight some of the difficulties faced by board members as they waded through hundreds of pages of corrections and edits submitted to them."