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Sikhs joined with Muslim and Christian leaders and Texas lawmakers to introduce and pass House Bill 1883 which requires that students absent during specified religious holy days are to be given alternative test dates for mandatory STAAR and EOC examinations.

Enacted House Bill 1883 became effective immediately on September 6, 2023 with the start of the 23-24 school year in Texas. The bill states that the State Board of Education (SBOE) shall ensure that STAAR, the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, and the EOC, or End of Course assessments tests, are not to be given on the first instructional day of the week unless it caused a significant local administrative burden, nor on specific religious holy days of religious observance which are defined as those observed by registered non-profits organizations exempt from property taxation under Texas tax laws. Students who miss school on religious holidays are given excused absences and make up test dates. However Local Educational Administrations are urged by the SBOE to plan the school calendar year to comply with the new bill which allows for not more than two days to be missed for any single religious holiday. 

Previous to the enactment of house bill 1883, only three holy days and two religions had been represented. The bill expansion includes four more religions and include eight more holy days. The holy days of religious observance as per the Texas Assessment Program represent six major world religions and 11 holidays altogether:

All Saints Day (Catholic)
Christmas (Christian)
Diwali (Hindu)
Eid al-Adha (Islam)
Eid al-Fitr (Islam)
Good Friday (Christian)
Passover (Jewish)
Rosh Hashanna (Jewish)
Vaisakhi (Sikh)
Vesak (Bhuddist)
Yom Kippur (Jewish)

Islamic and Christian lawmakers along with 36 sponsors represented bipartisan support for the bill meant to ensure religious freedom and dignity for all students of Texas a state in which people of faith worship in a Church, Gurdwara, Jamatkhana, Mosque, Synagogue or Temple. The bill passed by a majority House and Senate committee voters. Sikhs appreciate the efforts of Representative Salman Bhojani, and others, in bringing about this important advancement in Religious Freedom for all faiths represented. Vaisakhi Day celebrates the formalizing of the Sikh religion through the Initiation process of Amrit. Because of the accommodations made the new Bill, 1883 Sikh children and parents no longer have to choose between religious observances and mandatory school testing.

Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa

Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa

Sukhmandir has written hundreds of articles on topics related to Sikhism and has co-written and and edited several books on the Gurmat teachings and Naam Simran meditation. 

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