"Serving Diversity" Published in the Houston Chronicle

September 22, 2009 - The following Letter to the Editor in response to "Board Rules to Keep Christmas in Textbooks" was published in the Houston Chronicle.  The online version of the letter can be access directly by clicking here.

In regard to “Board rules to keep Christmas in textbooks” (Page B2, Friday), as the review committees and the State Board of Education did not take public input until last week, we hope everyone understands that the proposal to remove Christmas from the curriculum did not originate in the Hindu community. I myself was surprised at the suggestion. Why take out the most widely celebrated holiday in the country? We are pleased to see Diwali included, as it is celebrated by more than 1 billion people worldwide and 2.4 million Hindu Americans, but no one from our community advocated removing Christmas or Rosh Hashana to do so. As this process of drafting new curriculum standards proceeds, it is incumbent upon everyone involved to remember that Texas public schools serve a diverse community of students and that these standards must be written in order to meet those needs. We implore the Chronicle as well as other media outlets to be balanced in their reporting on the curriculum revision process, and to report accurately and in a way that keeps our community fully informed.

Rishi Bhutada
Houston Coordinator, Hindu American Foundation