HINDUS have urged Massachusetts (USA) schools to either allow students the flexibility to choose the religious text to study in the class instead of just mandating one religious text on the entire class or teach the texts of all major world religions.
A controversy reportedly arose recently in a Newton (Massachusetts) high school when a student refused to read passages from a religious text as an assignment because he was an atheist.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that opening-up the Massachusetts children to major world religions and non-believers’ viewpoint would make them well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It also made a good business sense to know the beliefs of “others” in a global community. Moreover, students should have knowledge of the entire society to become full participants in the American and world community.
Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that a special curriculum should be prepared for students who were non-believers as an alternative to the study of religious texts, Rajan Zed stressed.
In 2008-2009 school year, there were 958, 910 students in 1,848 elementary and secondary schools in Massachusetts. Graduation rate of the state schools in 2008 was 81.2 per cent. Mitchell D Chester is Commissioner of Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education.
Massachusetts, which reportedly leads the nation in technology, higher education, and health care; is known for Pilgrims landing, American Revolution, Martha’s Vineyard, Adams and Kennedy families, Harvard University, and home to the country’s oldest high school (1635).