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American Hindu foundation wins textbook case

Last updated on: March 23, 2007 15:02 IST

A Hindu foundation in the US has won a major victory with the California State Board of Education accepting its suggestions to make textbook adoption process more transparent and incorporate 'critical' protective measures.

The changes follow a verdict in favour of the Hindu American Foundation in a lawsuit filed by it against attempts at 'subverting' the public process by the SBE.

"Last year Hindu parents were shut out of the textbook adoption process by the SBE implementing underground regulations and holding closed door meetings, subverting the public process," said Suhag Shukla, legal counsel for the Hindu American Foundation.

"Our legal victory has opened the door to not only Hindu parents, but all California parents who are entitled by law to have a voice in how their children are educated and we are taking advantage of that," Shukla said.

The Foundation contended that illegal procedures were followed in adoption of instructional materials for six grade social studies textbooks for use in California Public Schools.

Among its other demands accepted was that experts retained by the SBE in future curriculum framework development and textbook adoptions have expertise in the specific subject area and be screened for potential conflicts of interest.

Much of the current controversy began last year when for the sixth grade textbooks covering Hinduism, the SBE retained a professor of linguistics who, the Foundation said, was allegedly well known for his antagonism towards Hindu Americans.

"The SBE must work proactively with the public in order to adopt curricula and textbooks that portray accurately and equitably the diversity of American society," said Shukla.

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