VIRGINIA (DC News Now) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin said the state education board will eventually approve a history curriculum that will have “the best standards in America.”
Not everyone shares his sentiments. Those who disagree with the changes contend that the Youngkin administration is trying to whitewash history. They said that this new curriculum leaves out critical elements of inclusive, accurate history that must be taught in Virginia schools.
Still, the Republican governor said in an exclusive interview with DC News Now last week that he thinks Virginians will support what’s proposed. This week, the state Board of Education will consider the latest draft of history standards.
“I think the response to them broadly has been incredibly good,” Youngkin said. “And we will have the best standards in America, where we teach all of our history, the good and the bad.”
The governor has promised after a public uproar erupted over his administration’s previous proposed standards, that slavery and racism would be taught in Virginia schools.
“We talk about topics that need to be taught at the right age level,” he said. “We also have a moment to step back and make sure that we take in lots of people’s input which I think we’ve done a very comprehensive job in doing.”
That’s a declaration from the governor that some say just isn’t true.
Atif Qarni, the education secretary under former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, said Youngkin ran on a platform to fight so-called racial indoctrination in schools.
“The governor’s definitely incorrect. These definitely will not be the best standards in the country. There are still significant problems with them,” Qarni said. “And he’s also incorrect that the community has been fully engaged. There’s so many people who have not been engaged.”
The Youngkin administration was under heavy fire by the public for revised K-12 history standards that, among other gaffes, called Native Americans the country’s first immigrants.
The previous standards proposed under former Gov. Ralph Northam were much better and more inclusive, he argues.
“If those were adopted by the board of education and implemented, those would be the best standards across the country ever,” Qarni said. “They take into account teaching an honest, complete history, inclusive of all different voices and uplift a lot of different communities.”
Makya Little is a parent advocate who served on the African American History Education Commission that spent two years developing new standards.
“As the parent advocate on the African American history commission that started this work of making sure Virginia’s history was more inclusive more than two years ago, hours, hours, hundreds of hours, hundreds of Virginians were involved in the process of making our history standards more inclusive. And the Glenn Youngkin administration essentially threw all of our work in the trash,” Little said.
The governor rejected that viewpoint.
“I’m excited about these history standards as they have just been released and I think Virginians will be excited about them,” Youngkin said.