RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed nine Executive Orders and two Executive Directives just hours after being sworn into office outside the State Capitol Saturday.
“The important steps we are taking today begins the work of restoring excellence in education, making our communities safer, opening Virginia for business and reinvigorating job growth, and making government work for the people, and not the other way around," Youngkin said. "My Day One Game Plan also includes 59 pieces of legislation and a package of more than a dozen budget amendments I am working on with General Assembly leaders, including our efforts to double the standard deduction, eliminate the grocery tax, and end the tax on the first $40,000 in veteran retirement pay. It’s a new day in Virginia, but the work is only beginning.”
Part of the directives include rescinding the vaccine mandate for state employees as well as letting parents choose whether their children should wear masks in schools. The reversal comes after former Gov. Ralph Northam and State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver issued a public health order in August that mandated universal masking in all K-12 schools. Dr. James Lane, the state superintendent at the time, said the order would "ensure uniformity across all school districts and keep students safely in their classrooms -- no matter where they live in Virginia."
Additional executive actions included terminating the Virginia Parole Board and asking Attorney General Jason Miyares to launch "a full investigation of the Board’s actions" as well as investigate "wrongdoing in Loudoun County."
Youngkin's first executive order called for ending the use of "inherently divisive concepts" in public education. That includes critical race theory, which is a way of thinking about U.S. history through the lens of racism. Accordingly, the order calls for the Superintendent of Public Instruction to review and end any policies that "promote inherently divisive concepts."
Additionally, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is tasked with reviewing all Department of Education guidelines, websites, best practices, and other materials produced by the department that promotes or endorses divisive or inherently racist concepts." Youngkin said any elements that are found should be removed.
"The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall review all changes made to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s public education curriculum within the last 48 months to identify inherently divisive concepts, including concepts or ideas related to Critical Race Theory, and initiate, through the regular curriculum re-evaluation process, changes that will replace them with concepts and lessons that ensure all Virginia students are taught to respect all individuals regardless of their race, sex, or faith," the order reads.
Additionally, the order calls for ending the Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative, reviewing the “EdEquityVA” program and removing anything that "promotes inherently divisive concepts" as well as the reviewing and then ending any portion of any Governor’s School program that includes similar concepts.
That order also calls for the Superintendent of Public Instruction to issue a report within 90 days to the Secretary of Education and Youngkin showing ways to close the “achievement gap” in K-12 education and make sure "all students are graduating high school career and college ready."
Here's a list of the Executive Actions from the Office of the Governor:
- Executive Order Number One"restores excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education."
- Executive Order Number Two aims to "empower Virginia parents in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school. "
- Executive Order Number Three restores "integrity and confidence in the Parole Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia. "
- Executive Order Number Four investigates "wrongdoing" in Loudoun County.
- Executive Order Number Five"makes government work for Virginians by creating the Commonwealth Chief Transformation Officer."
- Executive Order Number Six "declares Virginia open for business."
- Executive Order Number Seven "combats and prevents human trafficking and provides support to survivors."
- Executive Order Number Eight establishes a commission to "combat antisemitism."
- Executive Order Number Nine withdraws from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
- Executive Directive Number One"jumpstarts our economy by cutting job killing regulations by 25 percent."
- Executive Directive Number Two "restores individual freedoms and personal privacy by rescinding the vaccine mandate for all state employees."