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Youngkin report finds 'inherently divisive concepts' in Virginia schools

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Posted at 4:43 PM, Feb 25, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Glenn Youngkin released a report Friday on what he calls inherently divisive concepts in Virginia public schools.

The 19-page interim report, which was compiled by Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, comes as a result ofYoungkin’s first executive order.

Balow said the report effectively rescinds a number of policies, programs and resources that promote discrimination and divisiveness in public education.

A number of the removals are related to the Virginia Department of Education’s EdEquityVA initiative.

The Northam administration said the goal of that program was to increase the cultural competency of the state’s educators, and also close opportunity gaps.

EdEquityVA
A screengrab from Virginia's EdEquityVA website.

READ NOW: Superintendent's interim report on 'Inherently Divisive Policies, Programs, Training, and Curricula'

But Friday’s report stated that numerous resources within EdEquityVA have been found to employ the concept that current discrimination is needed to address past discrimination, and that as a result, it advocates for treating students differently based on their skin color.

The report also included documents pulled from the EdEquityVA website that show the material that informed its development, including the book Foundations of Critical Race Theory In Education.

Youngkin campaigned against the teaching of critical race theory (CRT), an academic concept that focuses on systemic racism when teaching U.S. history.

In addition to the report, Youngkin released the following statement:

"All Virginia students should have the opportunity to receive an excellent education that teaches all history including the good and the bad, prioritizes academic excellence, and fosters equal opportunities for all students. Our Virginia students should not be taught to discriminate on the basis of sex, skin color, or religion and VDOE policies should certainly not recommend such concepts," Youngkin said. "There is much work to be done, but I am encouraged that Superintendent Balow is proactively reviewing policies and practices around the Commonwealth. This is the first step in improving Virginia’s education system, restoring high academic expectations, equipping our future generation to be career or college ready, and providing equal opportunities for all Virginia students. As your governor, I will continually stand up for students and parents and look forward to signing the largest education budget in Virginia’s history."

Virginia Democrats responded to the report with Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) saying the governor has 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," Lucas wrote. "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."

The governor has tasked Balow with finalizing the interim report within the next 90 days.

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