RICHMOND, Va. -- Educators, community leaders, and clergy from around Virginia gathered in Richmond on Tuesday to speak out against what they called Governor Glenn Youngkin's recent attacks on equity in education.
His administration rescinded a series of policies, memos, and other resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion that it characterized as “discriminatory and divisive concepts” in the state's public education system. He also made is a campaign promise to stop the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Virginia schools.
In February, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow released a report that did not identify any instance of the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Virginia classrooms. Her report did point out a range of Department of Education online materials, memos, a webinar, and a math pilot program as examples it had identified and was rescinding or evaluating.
The Youngkin administration also created an anonymous tip-line for parents to report their child's teacher if the parent felt their child was learning inappropriate content in the classroom.
Members of the Virginia Education Association (VEA) claim these actions are discriminatory towards some students and exploit the fears of some parents.
"Educators, our parents, and our communities need to know that the resources related to equity will not be removed. We're going to continue to house them at the Virginia Education Association. You can visit our website to get information relative to equity and teaching truth to power," VEA President Dr. James Fedderman said. "We will not be silenced by this governor or any other governor, we will continue to advocate for truth, we will continue to advocate for honesty, we will continue to advocate for a culturally relevant education for our students and for our educators to teach the truth."
Fedderman reiterated this was not about Critical Race Theory, a legal theory that race played a role in the way the country works.
"Critical Race Theory does not exist in any of our public schools in Virginia," Fedderman said. "This is about teaching true and honest education, what our educators have been trained to do. That is what this is about. This measure, this tactic has been just one way that the governor has sought an opportunity to divide parents and educators."
A spokesperson for the Governor's Office said it was the VEA that has "failed teachers, parents, and students since 1863."
"Their initiatives of the past didn’t do enough to raise academic achievement, their enormous political donations to the Democrats didn’t do enough to improve academic excellence, and now their baseless opinions will have no impact on the future academic success of Virginia’s next generation," spokesperson Macaulay Porter said. "Governor Youngkin is focused on bolstering education opportunities for all Virginians and remains undeterred by partisan stakeholders that continue to fail Virginia’s students and parents.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.