Republican candidate for governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin will on Wednesday outline a plan to “restore an academic standard of excellence in Virginia schools and return common sense to the classroom, so that children are taught how to think instead of what to think.”
Since Democrats took control of the state legislature in 2019, residents have noticed a rapid decline in education, with schools remaining closed for most of the year due to coronavirus at the behest of teachers unions. State agencies, meanwhile, have increasingly focused on pushing political and racial ideas in the classroom, and even floated eliminating advanced mathematics because of racially unequal outcomes.
Youngkin will make restoring schools to engines of rigorous academics that are responsive to parents’ desires a centerpiece of his platform, his campaign said. He is set to release the plan in Loudoun County, a D.C. suburb that has become a national avatar of the excesses of ideology in state-funded compulsory education.
Youngkin said he would ensure that schools are “never again closed unnecessarily for extensive periods of time” and increase the number of advanced classes and magnet schools, which Democrats have attacked for having too many Asians.
He said he would make transparency a top priority, giving parents the right to know what their children are being taught. And the plan would “remove politics from the classroom” and focus on the fundamentals of reading, writing, and math.
“We will not hold students back from achievement,” according to a copy of the plan obtained by The Daily Wire.
He said he would ensure that standards are not lowered so that numbers represent “actual standards of excellence, not the perception of such,” according to the plan.
In order to make the proficiency rates look better, the state made it easier to attain passing scores on its annual standardized tests, and now has the lowest expectations in the nation.
“48 of the 49 states included in the study had standards at or above the NAEP Basic level… while one state—Virginia—had standards below the NAEP Basic level,” according to the U.S. Department of Education.
But artificially increasing the pass rate of a state-administered test doesn’t actually make students smarter: only one-third of Virginia 8th-graders met national reading standards based on the federal NAEP, known as the “Nation’s Report Card.”
From 2014 to 2021, Virginia’s national ranking in terms of Advanced Placement (AP) scores dropped from third place to tenth place, the campaign noted.
The Democratic nominee for governor is Terry McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor and Hillary Clinton confidante who has a close relationship with teachers unions. It was his State Board of Education which lowered the standards, Youngkin’s campaign said.
Since the new standards, not a single school has been denied accreditation, it said, and 92% received “full accreditation” in 2018-19. That was an increase in the number of schools given a stamp of approval despite test scores dropping.
McAuliffe on Wednesday also weighed in on education, tweeting his support for higher pay for teachers, a teachers-union priority.
Together, we will raise teacher pay ABOVE the national average for the first time in the history of our Commonwealth. Building a world-class education system starts with paying our teachers a fair wage.
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) June 30, 2021
McAuliffe’s rhetoric has largely consisted of attempting to associate Youngkin with former President Donald Trump.