Archives for category: Virginia

Educators, parents, and civil rights groups in Virginia are outraged because Governor Glen Youngkin has directed the rewriting of the state’s history standards. The Youngkin standards eliminate anything that extremists and rightwingers find objectionable. The Youngkin team initially deleted all mention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the elementary curriculum. Presumably any discussion of Dr. King’s life and legacy might be interpreted as “critical race theory” by the Governor’s allies.

At the same time, Youngkin’s cultural warriors expanded coverage of Ancient Greece and Rome, expecting children in the early elementary years to learn about major figures in those civilizations for whom they have no context or understanding.

In the rewrite of the standards by the Youngkin team,, a startling amount of material about African Americans was deleted. The curriculum and standards were literally whitewashed.

And as you will notice, the Youngkin draft refers to Native Americans and indigenous peoples as “the first immigrants.” What?

The Youngkin rewrite shows zero knowledge of what content is age-appropriate. As you will read below, first-graders are expected to learn about the Code of Hammurabi. Are first-graders really ready to learn about ancient Babylon? The educators who wrote the statement below warn that the Code includes references to adultery and sex, possibly violating recent legislation that bans sexual content in the early grades.

Many years ago, I was deeply involved in the revision of the California History-Social Science standards and curriculum framework. The process must involve teachers, historians, and experts from different disciplines (such as geography, sociology, and other social sciences). Our committee reflected the state’s ethnic diversity and included teachers from different grade levels. The draft was circulated to teachers who would teach it to get their comments. It was then presented at public hearings where parents and the public expressed their views. It was a long and arduous process, but the state ended up with a fair and accurate account of state, national, and world history, along with an appreciation of different perspectives about history.

History is not “a story.” It is told differently depending on who is writing it, and it changes as historians learn more.

That kind of deliberation was started in Virginia but it was short-circuited by Governor Youngkin, who wanted to fulfill his campaign promises about “parental rights” and “critical race theory.” The result is that the process was politicized, and the standards were warped by political interference.

The meeting to discuss the standards was held last night. I will let you know what happens. I will keep watch on the effort to whitewash Virginia’s standards of learning and to make them explicitly Eurocentric.

Press Release by Concerned Educators of the Commonwealth

RELEASE DATE: For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Concerned Educators of the Commonwealth

WHAT: The Rewrite of Virginia’s Proposed History and Social Science Standards

WHEN: Thursday, November 17th Board of Education Meeting, James Monroe Building, Richmond

The History and Social Science Standards of Learning have always been written as a non-partisan document that values input from all sides of the aisle in a transparent process. During the October 20, 2022 meeting of the Virginia Board of Education, a number of Board Members pushed to have the proposed History and Social Science Standards along with supporting Curriculum Framework documents presented for “first review” at the next meeting. The State Superintendent of Instruction resisted this in favor of further delay. Instead of honoring her promise for only a brief delay to allow new board members appointed by Governor Youngkin time to review the proposed Standards, the links below reveal that the proposed Standards have been completely rewritten at the last moment and replaced. This rewrite was led by Superintendent Balow, the Superintendent’s selected consultant, Ms. Shelia Byrd Carmicheal and staff from the Governor’s office. It is NOT the original draft of proposed standards created in partnership with countless educators, historians, professors, museums, organizations, parents, teachers, and VDOE staff in the process laid out in Virginia Code. As indicated by Item I Memo, Shelia Byrd Carmichael will present the ¨Final Redraft of VA HSS Standards for K – 12. 11.10.22¨ There is no mention of the VDOE History and Social Science staff members who have led this work for the past two years.

In addition to this flawed and undemocratic process, there are several aspects of the rewritten standards that we find to be unacceptable, and we urge the Virginia Board of Education to reject these rewritten standards and not consider them for first review at their upcoming meeting on November 17th, 2022:

  1. The inital rewrite of the proposed Standards which were made public on November 11, 2022 entirely removed Martin Luther King, Jr. from the elementary curriculum. This selective erasure of one of the most prominent Black men in American history calls into question this entire revision of the proposed Standards. This was partially addressed on November 16th, 2022 with the sudden addition of the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” to SOL K.7b. However, the public needs to be aware that this last minute half-measure still removes Martin Luther King, Jr. from the 1st grade and 2nd grade SOLs that have been in place for years. This significant reduction is still unacceptable, and it not only shows how much this process was rushed in isolation with a outside consultant, but it now seems to be a paternalistic attempt to placate and mollify.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards removes most of the 2020 technical edits that were made by the recent Commission on African American History Education (click here in order to see what has been removed).
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards refers to Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples as America’s “first immigrants” in SOL K.2a and b – this strips a historically marginalized group of 10,000 years of human history and their heritage as native and indigenous people who numbered in the tens of millions prior to European contact.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards completely removes the African civilization of Mali from the Third Grade standards while Ancient Greece and Rome have been greatly expanded. All of these civilizations should be explored for students to fully understand the world – not just the Western World. This represents another example of erasing people of color from the previous version of the standards while elevating a Eurocentric view of the world.
  1. In addition to political bias, the rewrite of the proposed Standards contains several examples of age-inappropriate content that is far too complex for adolescent children. For example,
    1. The “Code of Hammurabi” is now listed as required content for First Grade (SOL 1.1c). The Code of Hammurabi not only requires considerable historical context for students to understand Ancient Babylon, but many of the codes are inappropriate as they address topics such as adultery, sex, and capital punishment. The time period, as well as the graphic nature of the content, is highly inappropriate for 1st graders. The inclusion of the Code of Hammurabi may come into conflict with the recently passed legislation that forbids the inclusion of sexually explicit content in curriculum.
    2. The Fertile Crescent, Mesopotamia, and the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers are now required content in SOL 1.1 for First Grade. Students in primary grades have limited context of their own communities and the world around them. Therefore, they need to focus on basic map skills and geographic features such as continents and oceans – not on specific locations that require in-depth knowledge about ancient civilizations. it should be noted that the previous revision version of the Standards placed this content appropriately in secondary courses such as World History I and World Geography that is typically taught in 8th or 9th grade. Asking our youngest learners to learn about “civilization” before they have any context of their own “communities” shows a clear lack of understanding about what is developmentally appropriate in grades K-1.
    3. The Third Grade Standards require students to learn about several historic figures that are far too complex for this grade-level such as “Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Alexander the Great, Crassus, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine, Odysseus, and Aeneas.” While certainly historically significant, these figures are much more appropriate for secondary courses such as World History I which is typically taught in 8th or 9th grade. Such misunderstanding of elementary education calls into question if the person or persons who drafted these revised standards have any understanding of what is developmentally appropriate for younger learners and if they have any experience in elementary education.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards is full of grammatical, spelling, and formatting errors. For example, in SOL 2.2c, the famous closing statement of the Declaration of Independence is misspelled where the signers pledged their “lives, fortunes, and scared [sic.] honor” rather than sacred honor. Another simple mistake appears in SOL USI.7c, where the revised Standard states, “students will describe challenges faced by the new nation by….explaining what the Constitutional Conventions was.”
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards is also full of historical errors and inaccuracies. For example, SOL VS.5f requires students to “explain the reasons for the relocation of Virginia’s capital from Jamestown to Williamsburg” as part of the overall standard about the Revolutionary War. However, this makes absolutely no sense given that Virginia’s capital was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond during the Revolutionary War in order to provide greater protection against British attack. A discussion of the move from Jamestown to Williamsburg seems to be a glaring historical error given that Jamestown burned in 1698 and the capital of Virginia was moved to Williamsburg 77 years before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The previous version of the proposed Standards did not contain egregious historical errors such as this because they were developed by a team of educators, division leaders, and historians. Another example of historical error appears in SOL VS.6 where Zachary Taylor is incorrectly identified as the most recent President from Virginia. Taylor was Virginia’s 7th President elected in 1848. Woodrow Wilson was Virginia’s 8th President elected in 1912.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards emphasizes the memorization of content knowledge at the expense of skills and deeper understanding. The level of content knowledge is so extensive that it leaves very little time for critical thinking, inquiry, and project-based learning. For example, SOL CE.1n requires students to learn the “charters of the Virginia Company of London April 10, 1606, May 23, 1609, and March 12, 1612.” Such specific content knowledge in this regard promotes rote memorization and detracts from the larger goal of deeper understanding, skill development, and learning the knowledge and facts by anchoring that content to larger conceptual understandings
  1. Contributions from the Sikh and the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have been greatly limited in this redraft.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards completely alters the course sequence and will cause major disruptions as divisions struggle to redesign learning materials and resources for courses in grades K-9. If adopted, this mandate would move middle school courses to elementary and high school courses to middle school. This also has the potential to create major staffing issues as teachers will have to change teaching assignments, grade levels, and even schools. The altered sequence of courses negatively impacts students who are already in the middle of a particular course sequence. Publishing companies and education departments have created grade-appropriate materials to accompany the current SOL sequence. Making these drastic changes without allowing time for the creation of high-quality, enriching, age-appropriate supporting documents is disruptive of student learning and compromises Social Studies education.

Note: I can’t guarantee that the links will open, as this is a copy of a copy of a copy.

Virginia is about to release its history standards but the state board of education has held them up for further review—by the Fordham Institute.

From the Virginia Mercury:

The Virginia Board of Education is delaying its public hearings on the state’s new history and social science standards by a month to address concerns with timing and a number of errors and content issues Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration said were in the proposal.

The board’s schedule called for the mandated public hearings to occur in August. The board agreed to give the staff time to make certain corrections in the document and begin the public hearing process starting in September, between the September and October meetings.

At a Wednesday board meeting in Richmond, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow recommended against the board moving the draft standards forward for review, instead urging members to allow the proposal to undergo further development by Virginians and national experts prior to its acceptance.

The standards outline Virginia’s expectations for student learning in K-12 history and social science education and are assessed through the Standards of Learning tests. Virginia code requires the board to review the standards every seven years to update content and reflect current academic research.

“We’re on our way to having the best standards in the nation, and I don’t want any of us to settle for anything less,” said Balow.

Among Balow’s criticisms of the draft standards was their use of the word “succession” instead of “secession.” She also referenced the removal of the “Father of our Country” title for George Washington and “Father of the Constitution” title for James Madison, which the Department of Education has said was done in error.

Suparna Dutta and William Hansen, two of the newest board members, said they would not feel comfortable moving forward with the current proposal.

“I think we owe it to ourselves to take a pause for the five new members here, to be able to get our sea legs under us a little bit, and to have a better understanding,” Hansen said.

However, Board President Daniel Gecker said the department has had the document for seven months and that content and correction issues are the responsibility not of the board, but of department staff. He also said the entire board received the draft proposal simultaneously.

Sarah Johnson, a Chesterfield resident who spoke during the Wednesday meeting, said delaying the review process for the new standards is “unfair” to students and costly for taxpayers. She noted that the process has included input from a number of students and industry experts in education and history, and over 5,000 comments have been submitted.

“This begs the question, Who was the superintendent attempting to please?” Johnson said.

Zowee Aquino, policy and communications team lead at the nonprofit Hamkae Center, was one of several people who urged the board to move the draft standards forward.

“The proposed SOLs should proceed,” Aquino said. “Experts have weighed in and so many residents are ready to engage.”

In a surprise visit to the board meeting, the first to be held since the governor’s appointees assumed a majority on the body, Youngkin stressed the importance of the Board of Education in developing policies and improving student achievement, including through the revision of the standards for history and social science.

“I want us to teach all of our history in Virginia, the good and the bad,” Youngkin said.

The revisions are “an opportunity for us to set a standard for what it means to educate our children in all of the lessons — again, I’ll repeat, the good and the bad — but also the amazing progress that we’ve made in this country and yet the times we failed,” he said. “This is the moment for us to take a really, really serious look at how we are teaching this most important topic.”

Youngkin campaigned heavily on education issues, including critical race theory, a graduate-level framework that focuses on racial inequity and has not been found in Virginia curricula. His first executive order, issued on Inauguration Day,prohibited the use of “inherently divisive concepts,” including CRT, in K-12 education and ordered the state to raise academic standards.

On Wednesday, Mary Ann Burke, who described herself as a mother to three public school graduates, took aim at the governor’s executive order and urged the board to continue its review as scheduled.

“We maintain that all evidence-based history is not ‘divisive’ if it is true,” Burke said. “It is essential that Virginia students learn the complete and honest history, including the history of our African American citizens.”

The Board of Education launched the review process of the history and social science standards nearly two years ago. The board, along with a committee of curriculum leaders and higher education faculty members, met repeatedly to discuss the revision of the standards between October 2020 and June 2021.

Public input was collected simultaneously in the spring of 2021, followed by a number of virtual meetings with VDOE staff to reconcile the standards in February 2022. Over 5,000 comments and input from 200 committee members were included in the draft that came before the board Wednesday.

Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, public hearings and the final approval were expected in September and on Nov. 17, respectively.

The department said the standards could go into effect as early as 2024.

Chad Stewart, a policy analyst with the Virginia Education Association, said the group is “generally” pleased with the revisions and sees a “significant improvement” compared to previous standards.

Edward Ayers, a historian and former president of the University of Richmond, said the revised standards could move Virginia students beyond memorizing names and dates “to lead the nation in a sort of inquiry-based learning in social studies that we’ve long used in science and in business education.”

“There is, in fact, no more useful subject than understanding your own country,” Ayers said. “We have an obligation to teach that history with what we know, and fortunately, you folks are on the right track.”

In Virginia, an evangelical church announced plans to open a new school. They claim that demand for private Christian education has soared due to controversies over critical race theory (i.e., teaching anything about racism, past or present) and masking during the pandemic (they refused to protect their children’s health). Will the new school indoctrinate children to be racist? To hate gays? To look down on other religions? One thing you can be sure of: it will seek government money for its tuition.

MIDDLEBURG, Virginia – Nestled in the rolling hills of northern Virginia sits a sprawling tree-lined campus. Classrooms inside this shuttered private school sit empty. Once-busy halls are eerily silent. Each room looks like a time capsule of better days. But not for long.

“After much prayer and discussion with our elders, and pastoral leadership, we will be launching Cornerstone Christian Academy,” said Senior Pastor Gary Hamrick.

Hamrick got a standing ovation after making that announcement during recent Sunday services at Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg.

The campus is about 20 miles from Cornerstone Chapel the church that will open the school in the fall of ’23.

Initially, there will be enough space for 500 elementary and middle school students. “They have classrooms, desks, there’s a gym, cafeteria, down the hall. We’re going to repurpose it for the Lord,” said Hamrick.

On Today’s Quick Start Podcast: How Red Flag Laws Failed, Marvel Actors Sound Off on LGBT Message in Thor

There are also plans to expand to high school and online learning.

“Our goal is to provide children an education where they have a biblical worldview. So they can go out into the world and be salt and light,” he said.

Virginia’s new education leader avoids the press and the public, but she is accessible to rightwing think tanks. She recently spoke at the American Engerprise Institute, where she outlined her goal for the state’s students: job readiness. Aimee Guidera comes from the Gates-funded Data Quality Campaign. She did not speak about preparing students for citizenship in a democracy. She did not speak about imbuing students with a love of learning. She focused only on meeting the needs of employers.

Virginia NPR reported on her appearance:

Virginia’s top education official says the state is “resting on our laurels” when it comes to educating public school students.

In a forum hosted by a conservative think tank last month, Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera said her top goal is preparing students for the job market.

“We are reorienting everything to how is education geared towards preparing people for the jobs of today and of tomorrow,” she said.

Guidera has kept a low profile since Gov. Glenn Youngkin named her to be Virginia’s education secretary in December. But in a forum hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Guidera laid out her plans in more detail.

The former CEO of the Data Quality Campaign, an education reform group, pushed back on claims the administration was attempting to censor history. She said her team would push past “culture wars,” which Youngkin’s critics say were fermented by the governor.

Instead, she said she plans on focusing on meeting three “benchmarks”: creating students that are ready for “family-supporting jobs” and who are civically engaged, recruiting and retaining employers attracted by the commonwealth’s talent pool and growing the state economy.

Steve Ruis doesn’t like lies. And he understands that some lies are worse than others. This Breitbart lie, he writes, is a giant whopper.

A young man tragically took his life in Virginia. His mother went to the local school board and said he killed himself because of COVID isolation and “critical race theory.” Breitbart said so.

But what Breitbart did not say was that the young man graduated high school before COVID closed it down. And that CRT was not taught in his school.

And there is more.

Thanks for Donald Cohen of “In the Public Interest” for drawing my attention to this important victory in Virginia.

Members of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) mobilized to repeal an attack on their newly-won right to bargain collectively as a union. Unions offer a path to a secure middle-class existence. We need them now more than ever.

AFSCME members in Virginia are rejoicing in their success in protecting collective bargaining rights for local public employees across the commonwealth.

Their actions helped persuade the Virginia Senate to first defeat anti-worker bills filed in the Senate and, in February, to block House-passed anti-worker bills.

Members celebrated on Feb. 21 after the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee voted to defeat Del. Kathy Byron’s bill, which would have repealed a 2020 law that empowered localities to give their employees the freedom to collectively bargain for a contract.

Since taking effect last year, Del. Elizabeth Guzman’s HB 582 and Sen. Dick Saslow’s SB 939 have triggered a slew of collective bargaining ordinances. In Northern Virginia, AFSCME members began organizing during the pandemic and helped pass the first collective bargaining ordinance in April in the city of Alexandria. Arlington County soon followed suit in June.

Luis Velez Sr., an Arlington County construction management specialist and a member of AFSCME Local 3001, recounted the spring and summer he began organizing for collective bargaining rights.

“As a resident of Alexandria, I was proud to stand with Alexandria city employees as they won a strong collective bargaining ordinance. I was even more excited, a few months later, as an Arlington County employee when we passed our own collective bargaining ordinance,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do as our localities continue to recover from the pandemic and we are stronger when public employees are respected, have a voice on the job, and strong unions to advocate for the communities that we serve.”

The 2022 legislative session saw two versions of a total repeal of collective bargaining, and a series of bills introduced by Del. Nick Freitas that would have chipped away at collective bargaining and union rights. These bills sought to redefine a union election, eliminate automatic dues deductions and force employees to pay for any time and resources employees used while engaging in union work like representation during work hours. Freitas also wanted to dictate how and what localities could include in their collective bargaining ordinances and agreements.

Harlie White, a traffic and lights technician for the city of Alexandria, submitted written testimony twice.

“I stand in opposition to any bill that would repeal my collective bargaining rights and take away my freedom to join a union,” he said. “I am glad Senator Dick Saslow was willing to protect the 2020 law that empowers localities to give public service workers the freedom to join a union, and local municipalities the autonomy to enact union agreements as they see fit.”

The threat of losing collective bargaining mobilized AFSCME Virginia activists. Aside from testifying via Zoom and submitting written testimony, many sent letters and called their delegates and senators to make clear how important collective bargaining rights are for public employees, especially as cities and counties slowly recover from the pandemic.

Charlotte Malerich, an Arlington public library assistant, wanted Virginia elected officials to understand that chipping away at rights meant employees would lose their voice on the job.

“My co-workers and I need actual, concrete support: sick leave, child care, flexible schedules, teleworking for the things we can do at home …  and PPE for things we can’t do at home,” she said, referring to personal protective equipment. “And we need to have a voice at work to tell our managers what those needs are. Collective bargaining and union rights give us that freedom.”

Sometimes common sense prevails over craven politicians.

A judge in Virginia on Friday handed down a temporary ruling that seven school districts could keep their mask mandates in place — a setback to Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who had signed an executive order making masks optional in public schools.

Last month, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Hampton, and Richmond Public Schools filed a lawsuit against Mr. Youngkin, who had issued the order on Jan. 15, the day he took office. The order went into effect on Jan. 24. Together, the seven districts serve more than 350,000 students.

On Friday, Judge Louise DiMatteo of the Circuit Court in Arlington County granted a temporary restraining order to the school districts while the case makes its way through court. The judge said that Mr. Youngkin did not have the power to override local school board policies on mask mandates. The districts involved in the suit issued a statement on Friday saying they were “pleased” with the ruling.

“The order allows schools to continue to protect the health and well-being of all students and staff,” the statement said. “While the legal process on this matter continues, today’s ruling preserves the existing policies and practices in Virginia school divisions, which include masking requirements.”

Macaulay Porter, a spokesman for Mr. Youngkin, said the governor was “going to appeal.”

“The governor will never stop fighting for parents’ ability to choose what is best for their children,” Mr. Porter wrote in an email. “The governor often said that this is not a pro-mask or anti-mask debate. It’s about parents knowing what’s best for their child’s health.”

Governor Youngkin’s own children attend private schools that mandate masks.

The Washington Post reports that more than half the school districts in Virginia are defying Governor Youngkin’s order to eliminate mask mandates.

Youngkin boasted on a conservative radio program that only a small percentage of districts were not complying with his belief that masks should be optional.

But a Washington Post analysis shows that the majority of Virginia public school districts — enrolling more than two-thirds of the state’s students — have opted to disobey Youngkin’s mask-optional order. As of Wednesday, two days after the order was supposed to take effect, 69 districts, or 53 percent, are still requiring masks for all students inside schools. Cumulatively, those districts enroll 846,483 students, or about 67 percent of the state’s public school student population. The divide falls along partisan lines, although not perfectly: Almost every district that opted to make masks optional is in a locality that voted for Youngkin in the 2021 gubernatorial election.

The widespread defiance suggests Youngkin will have enormous difficulty in enforcing his mask-optional mandate, which is already the subject of two lawsuits: one from parents in Chesapeake, and one from seven school boards that oversee some of the state’s largest, most prominent school districts. A hearing on the second suit is scheduled for next week. Youngkin has said he will use every tool at his disposal to carry out his order as those cases wind through the court system, and his spokeswoman did not rule out disciplining disobedient districts by yanking their state funding…

Frederick Hess, a senior fellow and director of education policy at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said he thinks Youngkin should stay the course on his masking policies, while vigorously fighting back against the two lawsuits challenging the executive order.

If parents prioritize the health and safety of their children, they will tell them to wear a mask in school and wherever groups of people congregate.

Governor Youngkin invited parents to report the names of teachers who are violating the state’s vague and ill-defined law banning the teaching of “divisive concepts,” critical race theory, and anything else any parents object to.

Peter Greene describes the creative responses of respondents. Responses to an email address can come from anywhere, not just Virginia. You too can write to Youngkin’s Stasi.

Anyone can send their reports to the tip line email:

helpeducation@governor.virginia.gov

Greene writes:

But of course you know what else happened next. The tip line has apparently been hit with a variety of reports, like a complaint that Albus Dumbledor “was teaching that full blooded wizards discriminated against mudbloods.” Some of this has been goaded on Twitter by folks like human rights lawyer Qasim Rasgid. And John Legend correctly pointed out that under the guidelines of the decree, Black parents could legitimately complain about Black history being silenced (because, as sometimes escapes the notice of anti-CRT warriors, some parents are Black). Ditto for LGBTQ parents.

Greene also includes a useful list of questions to answer if you write the Governor: like, “who was your favorite teacher and what did they teach?”

Glenn Youngkin’s campaign for Governor of Virginia was fueled in large part by attacks on public schools. Youngkin said that the state’s public schools were indoctrinating students with critical race theory. He pledged to put an end to it. After he took office, he continued his rant against CRT; he even set up an email site where parents can complain about teachers. And to add to his rightwing cred, he banned mask mandates. A number of school districts are suing him to preserve their mask mandates.

Dana Milbank wrote about the elite private schools where Youngkin sent his own children. They very explicitly teach critical race theory. Youngkin knew what was going on: he was a member of the board.

Milbank wrote:

Not only is Virginia’s new Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin banning the fictional menace of critical race theory from public schools, but he’s also turning the commonwealth into a little Stasi State. He’s setting up a tip line so parents can report to the government any school official they consider to be teaching something “divisive.”

“We’re asking for folks to send us reports,” he told a conservative radio host Monday, The Post reported. “We’re going to make sure we catalogue it all,” he added, “to make sure we’re rooting it out.”

The state’s deputizing of residents to act as informants will have the obvious effect of deterring even mentions of slavery or race, which means Youngkin has imposed a de facto “memory law” whitewashing Virginia’s, and the country’s, deep and ongoing history of white supremacy…

The public schools of Virginia do not teach critical race theory.

But do you know which schools do teach “divisive” concepts, including something resembling critical race theory? The private D.C. schools Youngkin had his children attend. And you know who was on the board of governors of one of those schools while it was beefing up its anti-racism policies? Glenn Youngkin.

Youngkin, a professed fan of public school parents’ rights, exercised his own parental rights not to send his children to Virginia public schools but rather to National Cathedral School and St. Albans School, twin private all-girl and all-boy schools in D.C. under the auspices of the Episcopal Church.
National Cathedral’s website listed Youngkin as a member of its governing board from 2016 through 2019, and he was chair of its finance committee. To their credit, both National Cathedral and St. Albans were, during that time, leaders in developing anti-racism teachings, even before the murder of George Floyd heightened national awareness of systemic racism. Youngkin’s spokeswoman, Macaulay Porter, said that Youngkin “stepped off the board after 2019” and that both schools “changed a lot over the years.”

DEI — Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — has been a priority at National Cathedral for many years. The school has an extensive staff devoted to the initiative, as well as programming that includes affinity groups such as diversity forums, an equity board, an intersectionality council and a student diversity leadership conference. A National Cathedral strategic plan approved by the board in 2018 — during Youngkin’s tenure — “includes the mandate to ‘Advance an Inclusive Educational Environment,’ ” which involved “integrating related action steps into the fabric of everything we are and do as a school community.”

Among the other things National Cathedral has done: made time in the school schedule for “critical conversations around topics of race, anti-racism, social justice, and inclusion”; added courses such as “Black Lives in Literature” and “Courageous Dialogues”; developed new hiring protocols “as a result of our anti-bias work” and required diversity training for all staff members; and included in the school’s summer reading list books such as Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism….”

St. Albans has undertaken similar anti-racism initiatives. Among the books promoted on the school’s website are “White Fragility,” “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction,” Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy and the Rise of Jim Crow,” and Ibram X. Kendi’s “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.”
St. Albans also directed faculty to read Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist.” Fox News and other conservative outlets this past fall blasted a St. Albans’s “anti-bias” policy draft.

Youngkin’s own children were lucky to have attended schools that make its students grapple with uncomfortable and, yes, “divisive” issues. So why is he now using the powers of the state to intimidate teachers who would give Virginia’s public school students the same advantage?