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Video: Sen. Scott Surovell, Del. Mark Sickles Rebut Gov. Glenn Youngkin on National Merit Awards Notification “Faux Outrage”

"I don't see this as a human rights violation, I don't see it as something we ought to be investigating"


Great job by VA State Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) and Del. Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax) at their townhall with constituents earlier today, responding to a question about this issue:

“Virginia schools would be required to notify students when they receive awards under legislation proposed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), his latest response to certain schools’ failure to do so.

The legislation comes after several Northern Virginia high schools acknowledged that they were months late in telling students they had been named ‘commended students’ by the National Merit Scholarship Corp., which recognizes the highest scorers on a national standardized test.

…Details vary, but the school districts said their failures were errors that they would rectify in the future. Youngkin and some of his supporters, including some parents at the schools, see something more nefarious at work.”

So is there “something more nefarious at work” with this? Not according to Sen. Surovell or Del. Sickles. See below for video of their responses to the question, in which they pointed out the following:

  • Sen. Surovell noted that the College Board notifies students of their status after taking the PSAT, with the National Merit Award having an online dashboard which notifies parents if their child was a finalist, semi-finalist or commended.
  • Sen. Surovell also noted that West Potomac High School “has been doing their awards ceremony in the winter, pretty much the same time, for 10, 20 years now…that’s when they tell the students. It’s not some racial conspiracy, there’s no effort to try to make people feel good or bad, it’s just when they give the awards out.” Also, “I suspect if we were to ‘investigate’ every single school system in Virginia, you’d find high schools all across Virginia which provide this piece of paper after the first college early application deadline.
  • Bottom line, according to Sen. Surovell: “I don’t see this as a human rights violation, I don’t see it as something we ought to be investigating…we should be focusing on learning loss  that happened during the pandemic and getting guns out of the hands of 6 year olds so they can’t shoot their teachers…I don’t support the governor’s bill, I think it’s micromanaging our school system and I’m tired of him using Northern Virginia schools as whipping posts.”
  • Del. Sickles: This is “ridiculous,” “faux outrage” that “our principal didn’t send it out on behalf of a private company?” As for Gov. Youngkin’s claim that this was an “egregious and intentional violation,” Del. Sickles says “I don’t believe that,” adding that it’s a third-place placement that “doesn’t matter that much” and won’t impact whether or not kids get into college anyway.


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