See below for a press release from DPVA. For more on this story, see Audio: Gov. Northam’s Secretary of Education, Atif Qarni, Rips Youngkin Education Report as “Weird,” “Unethical,” “Political Stunt” Using “Cherry-Picked,” “Manufactured” Data (Qarni: Youngkin “want[s] to segregate schools; privatization generally leads to segregation…this administration…needs to be stopped”) and VA Senate Dems Rip Youngkin Education Report as a “joke,” “dog-whistle talking points”; “outright lie, supported by cherry-picked data and warped perspective” (“This report shows once again that Governor Youngkin wants to take us back to the days of Jim Crow”).
Governor Youngkin Attacks Public Schools and Spotlights Republicans Hypocrisy on Cuts to Teacher Raises
New Education Report Blames Parents and Continues the Youngkin Administration’s Divisive Attacks On Public Schools
Richmond, VA – Yesterday, Governor Youngkin held a press conference to berate Virginia public schools and sow division among students, parents and teachers. While attacking public schools, he spotlighted Republican hypocrisy in demanding teacher pay raises from Senate Democrats who are fighting to save those raises from Republican cuts.
The education report from Youngkin’s far-right superintendent Jillian Balow blamed parents for having an overly positive “perception” of their children’s achievements in schools, demonstrating yet again that Youngkin only views parents as pawns in his radical agenda to dismantle Virginia’s public education system. The report completely ignores the real pressing issues facing Virginia schools, including rural school systems, early childhood education, special needs students, and Virginia’s aging school buildings.
Instead of addressing the true needs of students, the Youngkin administration made the absurd claim that the challenges faced by students during the pandemic stemmed from a “rhetorical emphasis on equity.” The education report was ordered by Youngkin’s extremist executive order that bans any so-called “divisive concepts” from schools, impeding education on many important issues in history and forcing Virginia teachers to live in fear of being reported by Youngkin’s tip line for the supposed crime of teaching American history.
Youngkin appeared to confuse himself over the issue of teacher raises passed in the budget that he still has failed to deliver to Virginians, now more than two months late. Youngkin demanded teacher raises from Senate Democrats, but this “demand” clearly should have been made to himself and his own party standing in the way. Senate Democrats passed 10% teacher raises months ago, but Virginia Republicans slashed these raises by 20% and are blocking the passage of the budget.
“Governor Youngkin is the most anti-education Governor in Virginia’s modern history,” said DPVA spokesperson Gianni Snidle. “His radical anti-public school policy has no place here in Virginia. The Governor has shown his true intentions to undermine public education, bringing the destructive DeVos agenda to the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, it is Virginia’s students and Virginia’s future that will suffer.”