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Appalling: Youngkin Administration Moves to Eliminate “Inherently Divisive Concepts” From Public Education; Dems Rip His “inherently divisive” “racist agenda,” “whitewashed history and fake news”

Youngkin clearly "committed to eliminating Black History lessons from our classrooms"

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This is truly appalling, as the Youngkin administration moves to implement Youngkin’s absurd Executive Order #1, ” identifying and addressing inherently divisive concepts – including ‘Critical Race Theory and its progeny’ – in public education.” See below for statements by the Democratic Party of Virginia and VA Senate Democratic Caucus, which rip what the Youngkin administration is doing as follows:

  • Part of a “racist agenda to whitewash Virginia’s history and attempt to cover up the existence of racism in our commonwealth and nation” – DPVA Chair Susan Swecker
  • “…tak[ing] steps that have increased division and pitted people against each other.” – DPVA Chair Susan Swecker
  • “The governor has put up a complete facade–while he’s shooting hoops on the basketball court and delivering vests to committee meetings, behind closed doors he’s only further dividing Virginians by implementing extreme policies like this. He’s putting us on a track to completely whitewash necessary Black History lessons from our classrooms–eliminating countless voices from our marginalized communities that deserve to be heard.” – DPVA Chair Susan Swecker
  • “With the appointment of Jillian Balow, Governor Youngkin had hired his general for the war to erase any history that might be perceived by white students or parents as forcing them to feel inferior. But, after decades of being told that I was inferior for my race, for my gender, for the way I look–and children in my community facing that same treatment–I am sincerely appalled at and fearful of what these reforms will mean for the next generation.” – Sen. Mamie Locke
  • “Governor Youngkin seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what an ‘inherently divisive concept’ is. The actions of his Department of Education are cruelly tearing away every attempt at promoting equity and healing division, instead replacing those initiatives with whitewashed history and fake news. He is being inherently divisive with these actions.” – Sen. Louise Lucas
  • “Imposing his narrow and privileged views on Virginia’s children may play well to the extreme, right-wing base, but most Virginians overwhelmingly understand that addressing the need for equitable opportunities in education creates strong, safe, and thriving communities.” – Sen. Ghazala Hashmi

P.S. The Wason Center poll the other day — which found “Voters support teaching how racism continues to impact American society (63% to 33%) and oppose a ban on the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools (57% to 35%).” — shows that Youngkin’s not just morally wrong, he’s also wildly out of step with the Virginia public on this.

Governor Youngkin Continues To Sows Division By Whitewashing Black History From Virginia’s Public Schools

 

Richmond, VA – Upon the release of Governor Youngkin’s Interim Report today, DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker released the following statement:

“On one of the final days of Black History month, this report launches a new chapter in Gov. Youngkin’s racist agenda to whitewash Virginia’s history and attempt to cover up the existence of racism in our commonwealth and nation. The history of Virginia, and our nation, is difficult, complex and often untold. Teaching our students about equity and inclusion is foundational to our Commonwealth’s future, and we must strive to make sure every Virginia student has a robust understanding of history and how it impacts peoples’ lives today.

“We know that an overwhelming majority of Virginians support teaching how racism continues to impact American society and that most oppose a ban on critical race theory — once again demonstrating that the governor is only interested in catering to far-right factions of his party. Governor Youngkin has taken steps that have increased division and pitted people against each other. The governor has put up a complete facade–while he’s shooting hoops on the basketball court and delivering vests to committee meetings, behind closed doors he’s only further dividing Virginians by implementing extreme policies like this. He’s putting us on a track to completely whitewash necessary Black History lessons from our classrooms–eliminating countless voices from our marginalized communities that deserve to be heard.”

STATEMENT: Virginia Superintendent Report on “Inherently Divisive Concepts”

RICHMOND, Va.: Today, Superintendent of Public Instruction and highly-partisan operative Jillian Balow released an interim report on actions taken by the Department of Education to eliminate “inherently divisive concepts” from Virginia’s public schools, per Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order 1. This initiative, as demonstrated in the Wason poll released earlier this week, is wildly unpopular amongst Virginians.

Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “With the appointment of Jillian Balow, Governor Youngkin had hired his general for the war to erase any history that might be perceived by white students or parents as forcing them to feel inferior. But, after decades of being told that I was inferior for my race, for my gender, for the way I look–and children in my community facing that same treatment–I am sincerely appalled at and fearful of what these reforms will mean for the next generation. Students who won’t learn the absolutely devastating outcomes of American slavery, the Holocaust, and other times in world history when ignorance paved the way to destruction of entire cultures and communities. As Winston Churchill once said, “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.’”

Chair of the Education and Health Committee, Senator Louise Lucas said: “Governor Youngkin seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what an ‘inherently divisive concept’ is. The actions of his Department of Education are cruelly tearing away every attempt at promoting equity and healing division, instead replacing those initiatives with whitewashed history and fake news. He is being inherently divisive with these actions.

“Whatever you call it, an ‘inherently divisive concept’ or something else, it’s all the same thing–denying my history, my family’s history, my community’s history, and Virginia’s history. Rescinding policies that prioritize equity leaves equity behind; it doesn’t promote it. Not talking about our differences doesn’t erase our differences; it promotes division.”

Chair of the Public Education Subcommittee, Senator Ghazala Hashmi said: “When Governor Youngkin offered his Executive Order 1, and when bills banning ‘inherently divisive concepts’ were presented in my Subcommittee, I asked one simple question: ‘what is an inherently divisive concept?’ No one seemed to have a succinct answer to that question.

“Now, we have found out what that means to Governor Youngkin: eliminating state programs aimed at promoting equity, tools that school divisions can use to ensure fair treatment and education of all students, and any instruction that may mention a culture, race, religion, or worldview that is different from his own. Imposing his narrow and privileged views on Virginia’s children may play well to the extreme, right-wing base, but most Virginians overwhelmingly understand that addressing the need for equitable opportunities in education creates strong, safe, and thriving communities.”

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