Friday, March 01, 2019

Challenge To Treatment of Hinduism In California Curriculum Fails

In California Parents for the Equalization of Educational Materials v. Torlakson, (ND CA, Feb. 28, 2019), a California federal district court dismissed the claim that California public schools' History-Social Science Content Standards adopted in 1998 and its History-Social Science Framework adopted in 2016 violate the Establishment Clause by demonstrating hostility toward Hinduism.  Plaintiffs contended that the discussion of Hinduism only from a secular perspective, over-emphasis on the caste system, adoption of the Aryan Invasion Theory and the description of Hinduism's treatment of women all denigrate Hinduism. They also object to the input of SAFG, a group of academics who they describe as anti-Hindu. The court concluded however:
[E]ven if there is some evidence by which a reasonable person could infer a disapproval of Hindu religious beliefs—an excessive discussion of caste, for example, or a failure to be fully transparent about coordination with SAFG—that is not enough to conclude that the primary message of the Standards and Framework is disparagement.
Courthouse News Service reports on the decision.