New Jersey students to learn about Sikhism
The burden of educating people of other faiths about Sikhism will be significantly eased for the Sikh community in the State of New Jersey in America.
The State’s Board of Education has decided to incorporate into its curriculum a teaching requirement in social studies that will inform 1.4 million middle school students about world religions.
Students will be asked to: “Compare and contrast the tenets of various world religions (e.g., Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Taoism), their patterns of expansion and response to the current challenges of globalization.”
The Board of Education has also promised that Sikh issues will be added to Classroom Application Documents (CADs), which are guides used by teachers to provide content to the curriculum standards.
The Sikh Coalition, Sikh Research Institute, New Jersey Sikh community members, and Board of Education will work together to develop these CADs. They will address the issues of Sikh immigration to America, discrimination in the workforce and military, post 9/11 backlash on Sikhs, bullying issues affecting Sikh students, and how the media perpetuates stereotyping and how that affects Sikhs.
The Sikh coalition and New Jersey gurdwaras began campaigning for changes in 2003.
Along the way they have helped persuade the Education Commissioner to ask every school principal in New Jersey, before the start of the school year, to take measures to protect Sikh students from bias and harassment.
New Jersey also agreed to allow eight Sikh religious days to be placed on the school calendar, giving Sikh students the option of taking those days off without being charged with an unexcused absence.
The Sikh Coalition has praised the efforts of Education Commissioner Lucille Davy in ensuring that New Jersey school children have the knowledge necessary to be competitive in an increasingly global society.
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