Hindu American Foundation Prepares for Litigation Against California State Board of Education

 

SACRAMENTO, Ca (Mar. 9, 2006) – The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), through its law firm, has been in continual correspondence with the California State Board of Education (SBE) and California Department of Education (CDE) for the past several months demanding a fair and open process in the textbook adoption process. HAF became involved after two Hindu groups, the Hindu Education Foundation (HEF) and Vedic Foundation (VF) attempted to work with the SBE to ensure an accurate and balanced portrayal of Hinduism in sixth grade textbooks. This process was sidetracked according to Hindu parents in California by the involvement of a minority of politically motivated academics and radical anti-Hindu groups.

On March 8, 2006, despite numerous communications by HAF highlighting procedural irregularities and resulting substantive inaccuracies, the California State Board of Education (SBE) voted to approve recommendations by the SBE/CDE Staff on February 27, 2006, to retain several statements and themes in the textbooks that had insulted Hindus.

"Thousands of Hindu parents and several Hindu academics that engaged the SBE to ensure a fair representation of Hinduism in textbooks are disenfranchised by this hollow decision,” said Suhag Shukla, Esq., legal counsel of HAF. “Of all religious groups that followed a set process to submit edits and corrections to textbooks, only the Hindus were treated to an uneven and constantly changing playing field, and only their submissions were politicized in this unseemly political charade. This is not simply an injustice to Hindu Americans, but all Americans who believe in the democratic process."

In a final letter to the SBE on March 3, 2006, HAF held that private determinations have been made and implemented to subvert the public process, including the formation of a subcommittee to handle the matter and creation of the now approved February 27th SBE/CDE staff recommendations. Critically, the HAF wrote, the January 6th closed door meeting, from which deliberations formed the basis of the now-approved edits, was held in direct violation of California Open Meeting Act by the presence of several members of the SBE. Further evidence of the SBE’s apparent lack of concern for the public process is the February 27, 2006 public hearing, where after five hours of public comment, the subcommittee moved to recommend approval of the SBE/CDE staff recommendations with absolutely no deliberation.

Preparation for litigation is currently underway. HAF will file suit against the SBE early next week.

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