A Compromise in the California Textbook Controversy

March 3, 2006

Source: Pacific News/India-West


On March 3, 2006 India-West reported, "Following an impassioned, emotionally charged meeting here Feb. 27 at the California Department of Education, where hundreds of Indian Americans presented their views in front of a Board of Education subcommittee, the five-member panel unanimously voted to recommend adoption of staff recommendations for edits and corrections proposed by the Hindu Education Foundation and Austin, Texas-based Vedic Foundation for its sixth-grade textbooks... The panel considered 126 pages of edits and corrections, nine proposed textbook submissions, and between 1,500-2,000 pages of letters and e-mails, Glee Johnson, president of the State Board of Education, told India-West... The staff recommendations reflect a compromise on a substantial part of the proposed edits following a meeting Jan. 6 between Harvard Sanskrit expert and philologist Prof. Michael Witzel and Cal State Northridge emeritus Prof. Shiva Bajpai; on issues where they couldn't agree, the edits were rejected in favor of the original text. The compromise appears to have worked in some measure: groups that have been bitterly arguing on the issue have all expressed satisfaction, albeit qualified, at the acceptance of the staff recommendations. Although quite a few disgruntled HEF supporters appeared irate following the announcement at the end of an over three-hour-long session of public comments, several crying 'Shame!' HEF organizers told India-West they were pleased that 70 percent of their changes had been accepted... Meanwhile, Friends of South Asia, an activist group that has opposed the HEF and VF campaign, welcomed the decision as well... The State Board of Education is slated to make its final decisions regarding the textbook adoption at its meeting on March 8-10."