USHA is a strong supporter of public education and opposes any government policy that assists private education using taxpayer dollars. Urgent and immediate attention is needed to repair and reform our public education system. Determining the root causes that weaken our educational system and finding long term solutions is in the best interest of all Americans. In the schools of tomorrow, a greater openness is essential.
India-Hindu Studies Programs
We believe that public schools should promote and expand education on various major world religions. Such changes in school curriculum will help all young Americans to appreciate and respect the religious diversity that exist in our country. USHA demands Hindu Studies programs in all public schools to be taught by qualified Hindu American teachers.
School Prayer in Public Schools
There have been numerous attempts in the past to introduce prayer in public schools by various Christian Religious Organizations. The courts have repeatedly made it clear that such attempts are in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. In spite of the historic record of court rulings related to prayer in school, activists belonging to fundamentalist and evangelist groups continue to aggressively pursue to change status quo. We strongly oppose the imposition of any government-drafted school prayer and urge the public and elected officials to be ever vigilant so that such efforts will never gain public sympathy or judicial approval.
Teaching of Religion in Science Classes
Every religion has its own view of how creation happened. Since there are divergent views on this subject, any attempt to introduce the views of any particular religious tradition will only divide society and increase intolerance for the religious views of our citizens. We oppose the inclusion of religious perspectives on scientific theories within public schools. We believe that the primary responsibility of religion-oriented education for children rests with parents and legal guardians and not with school systems or government.
Bullying and Psychological Torture
Bullying is a serious issue being faced by thousands of students of all ethnic/religious backgrounds in American schools. Strong measures must be taken to counter bullying of minorities who may look or act differently from the majority population. We demand stricter laws to punish those guilty of bullying in schools since such acts leave a permanent psychological scar on students.
American teenagers have the highest instance of teenage pregnancy among all nations. In order to address this serious problem, we support programs intended to promote abstinence education and training in relationship-related issues based on facts and logic. Such programs should not, however, become breeding grounds for promoting the dogmatic beliefs of enthusiastic religious fundamentalists. The government and the school systems under government control should develop adequate safety mechanisms for preventing such a misuse of public authority.
We strongly support school uniforms determined by the school authorities in consultation with parents to promote discipline and curb rampant consumerism. The decision makers must consider the religious sensitivity of students in the design of such uniforms.
Healthier Vegetarian School Meals
We urge local, state and federal governments to appreciate the value of providing a choice of healthy vegetarian meals in public schools. In order to ensure better health for future generations of Americans, it is an imperative to educate todayâ€™s students about the various benefits and risks associated with different types of food.
Information Regarding Hindus and India in School Text Books
False and misleading information regarding Hindus and India is rampant in American school text books. We urge county and state Boards of Education to create a task force to look into this important matter so that American children are not denied a true and accurate understanding of Hindus and India.
Promotion of Yoga and Meditation in Schools
In an effort to curb the increasing violence in our schools, USHA urges Congress to consider legislation that would introduce the teaching of yoga and meditation in our public schools. These healthy techniques developed in India over the past thousands of years have been used to develop healthy bodies and strong minds free of disease and stress. Tens of millions of Americans have benefited from these proven techniques. We believe it can benefit all of humanity. The benefits of teaching yoga and meditation far outweigh the associated costs.
Some of the less understood benefits of these practices include stress reduction, reduction in body pain, enhanced metabolism, improved blood circulation, better focus/concentration (while studying or working), increased sense of self awareness, increase in self confidence and self esteem, better productivity, and stronger/ harmonious human relationships.