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On the heels of Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signing an executive order on his first day in office to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has compiled a 30-day report on government actions to rescind discriminatory policies, programs, and resources.
VDOE’s report was compiled by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. The document is in accordance with Balow’s role to address “inherently defined divisive concepts” in education, which are defined as “advancing any ideas in violation of Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
“All Virginia students should have the opportunity to receive an excellent education that teaches all history — the good and the bad, prioritizes academic excellence, and fosters equal opportunities for all students,” Youngkin said in a statement. “Our Virginia students should not be taught to discriminate on the basis of sex, skin color, or religion and VDOE policies should certainly not direct such concepts.”
The report outlines eight items that the administration has or is currently targeting, particularly related to EdEquityVA. The department was established by Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam in 2021 with the goal of implementing equity and “establishing concrete plans to dismantle any and all forms of systemic racism in Virginia’s public education system utilizing the principles of anti-racism.”
VDOE is rescinding all resources on EdEquityVA’s website. This includes rescinding a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Audit Tool that serves as the main resource for EdEquityVA — which has been used by school leaders to implement DEI and anti-racism. Anti-racism, a term popularized by writer Ibram X. Kendi, calls for the dismantling of so-called systemic racism.
EdEquityVA’s suggested reading lists, which push CRT, are also being rescinded. VDOE notes that it is taking aim at a “foundational” document called Navigating EdEquityVA, which Northam’s administration released to provide anti-racism resources “to fight racial injustice and eradicate systemic inequity from our public education system.”
The document notably provides a section entitled 5 Keys To Ensuring Equity in Advanced Programs, such as Gifted, IB, AP, and others. In the name of equity, Northam dropped advanced math courses before 11th grade in schools, which drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Youngkin rescinded Virginia’s Math Pathways Initiative — which condensed three years of math into two and reduced options for some students.
Other programs are being targeted under Youngkin’s administration. One is Virginia L.E.A.R.N.S., a group that formed during COVID-19. The group championed “equity” and called for school leaders to “adjust grading practices” as well as “control for implicit bias and discrimination” in school plans and programs.
“There is much work to be done, but I am encouraged that Superintendent Balow is proactively reviewing policies and practices around the Commonwealth,” said Youngkin. “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.”
Youngkin’s administration has continued to clash with Democrats and school officials over the educational future of the Commonwealth. The governor established an email tip line last month for citizens to notify government of “divisive practices” and CRT in schools.
Read the full VDOE report here.