Texas Textbooks to Accurately Reflect Sikh Faith
The Sikh Coalition celebrated a victory after the Texas Board of Education approved textbooks which have corrected more than 50 inaccuracies about the Sikh faith and its history.
The vote finally came following an endless array of communication, including meetings, calls, emails and lobbying from the Sikh Coalition, as well as lengthy searches by Coalition members through textbooks for inaccuracies regarding the Sikh religion. Glaring errors included that Sikhism had a basis in Hinduism and its god Vishnu, as well as Sufis, or mystics, from the Muslim religion. One passage concluded, “Sikhism was an attempt to blend aspects of Hinduism and Islam." The corrected entry now reads, in part, “Sikhism emerged in 1469 in Punjab…It is a unique, independent religion." The Sikh Coalition hails this as the fruit of strategic investment in time and effort with the Texas Board of Education, believing that factual information about their religion will lead to a greater and more accurate understanding of Sikhism.
The vote for the new textbooks broke cleanly along party lines in what some board members called a flawed process, adopting the new textbooks amid criticisms from academic and public voices occupying many points along the political spectrum. These criticisms center on factual inaccuracies and bias in the textbooks. Though textbook publishers struggled to provide alterations to fix inaccuracies, it is unknown how many factual errors were left uncorrected.
Many board members admitted to not having time to review all offered alterations before voting on the textbooks. The five Democrats on the board voted no, declaring it would be irresponsible to vote for erroneous new textbooks that will be in use for the next dozen years. The ten Republican members voted yes, pronouncing the process could be fixed before the next textbook vote.