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  Common Sense helps avoid California links with Hate groups  
 

 

By: Dr. S Kalyanaraman
February 03, 2006
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iews expressed here are author’s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.

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Absence of ethics in politics and political patronage are front-page news in Pennsylvania or Washington DC, but they appear to be the norm in the California State Board of Education. Several media articles have appeared about the controversy surrounding the revision of California Middle School textbooks. Few have tried to explain how a simple effort to correct errors that the SBE described as "embarrassing", could turn into such a disdainful treatment of an American community, in violation of due process and equal opportunity protections of US laws. The answer perhaps rests with Mr. Alan Bersin, Secretary of Education, Member of the Board of Trustees of Harvard University, and member of the State Board of Education. Hindu American community is outraged that their school-going children are being discriminated against.

The 8-month long review process by parents, teachers and education professionals, sought to correct errors, distortions, biases and stereotyping, following the law that states: "No religious belief or practice may be held up to ridicule and no religious group may be portrayed as inferior….Textbooks should instill a sense of pride in every child in his or her heritage" . Simple enough. Last November 8, The California Department of Education was ready to go for final approval of their recommendations, a formality. What happened next would turn the Daley Machine of Chicago green with envy. A professor from Mr. Bersin`s client, Harvard, was mysteriously informed of the pending edits 3 days before anyone else was. An amazingly abusive and unscholarly letter on Harvard letterhead, devoid of any understanding or specifics on the edits, was equally mysteriously accepted by the CDE, violating its norms. The author, Dr. Witzel, a linguist with a history of abusing Indian scholars, his own colleagues and students per the campus newspaper, was invited to supersede the CRP with a "Super CRP" consisting of himself and two others. One is a Californian known for his anti-India writings; the other a Christian right-wing writer with no knowledge of Hinduism or India.

The SBE did show some spirit. Following a public hearing on December 1, they debated each of the 58 objections that the "Super CRP" had invented to the edits, and rejected nearly every one. Citizens assumed that the debate was over. The Harvard lobby, however, clearly knew otherwise. The results of the Dec. 1 edits were never published; however they were mysteriously "leaked" to a Bay area organization with known communist associations. The "Super CRP" Witzel sent out an urgent call to get his friends from the East Coast flown out to California. In early January, they appeared "spontaneously" at a surprise CDE meeting, hiding their New Jersey Proselytization sponsorship. Playing the "Dalit" card is big business in India, after all – 800 million souls waiting to be harvested.

On January 5, the Machine showed its true colors. Professor Bajpai, the duly-appointed History expert who adjudicated the edits for the CBE, was forced to "resolve dispute" – if the East Coast linguist agreed, the edit was accepted, otherwise it was rejected. In other words, absolute veto power for someone who had no business at all being there.

Last week, the CBE released its "final edits" – exactly what the hired gun from the East Coast wanted. Gone was all pretense of fair play, logic or expertise. Gone was any trace of the efforts of the parents and teachers to correct the bias, stereotyping and bigotry. The "final edits" was a sheer display of raw political patronage and Ivy League arrogance. California parents were left with no option but to sue the government to get the law to be enforced, and to seek judicial enforcement of their rights in the face of political arrogance. Or watch their kids coming home crying about the hate spewed at them in the schools by classmates and teachers who are condemned to learning from texts steeped in British colonialist ignorance and bigotry, at a time when American kids desperately need to understand other cultures in order to compete in the global economy.

But Mr. Bersin had got what he wanted – taxpayer dollars and free notoriety channeled to a part of his client University that has never been able to aspire to fame any other way. Why should a small thing like the interests of school kids stand in the way of that?

Dr. S Kalyanaraman

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