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Board of Education delays vote on Youngkin administration's history class revisions

Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 18, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Board of Education has delayed action on setting new standards of learning for history and social studies in public schools around the Commonwealth. The delay comes after dozens of people voiced their opinions on the revisions offered by Governor Youngkin (R - Virginia) and his administration.

The standards will set Virginia's expectations for student learning in history and social science. Those classes are assessed through the Standards of Learning tests or SOLs.

The latest draft of the state's K through 12th-grade history standards was proposed by the Youngkin administration. Critics of the changes said the draft missed the mark in terms of reframing race relations.

On Thursday, the Board of Education delayed action on the new draft and voted 8-0 to direct the department to create a new draft and incorporate elements from another draft developed under former Governor Ralph Northam (D - Virginia)

Helen Pryor, the president of the Education Association of Norfolk, said the draft proposal sugar-coated American history and don't allow children to form their own opinion.

"What these new standards do, is it brings you down a tunnel so that there is no opportunity for the teacher to expand on the lesson to show both sides to have those open Socratic conversations, and the language is very outdated," Pryor said.

The Youngkin administration and the Department of Education insist the draft proposals expand the depth of content required. They also said the drafts included learning more about Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's legacy.

His office said the Northam adminstration left out key historical references to hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

The board is now expected to vote on a new set of proposals in 2023.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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