Virginia Association of Superintendents Criticizes Youngkin Administration’s Removal of Equity Materials

Glenn Youngkin standing at podium

The Virginia Association of School Superintendents released a letter on behalf of Virginia’s 133 division superintendents criticizing Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow after the Youngkin administration published Balow’s 30-day report on steps taken to remove divisive concepts. The letter says superintendents should have been consulted, and the removal of many equity-related materials, with an administration emphasis on equitable opportunities, not outcomes, could be harmful.

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Superintendent of Public Education Balow Publishes Report on VDOE Material Removed for ‘Inherently Divisive Concepts’

Virginia’s new education administration has removed many of the equity training materials that used to be on the Virginia Department of Education website, according to a report from Superintendent of Public Education Jillian Balow. The removals and the report were ordered by Governor Glenn Youngkin in his first executive order, aimed at removing “inherently divisive concepts” from public education. That was a measure to fulfill a campaign promise to ban Critical Race Theory (CRT), but the order and subsequent actions go beyond material that explicitly references CRT.

“This interim report rescinds certain policies, programs, and resources that promote discriminatory and divisive concepts as directed by Executive Order One. It also contains a sampling of critical race theory-based materials,” Balow wrote in a letter accompanying the report.

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Senate Public Education Subcommittee Recommends Blocking Youngkin’s ‘Inherently Divisive Concepts’ Ban Introduced by Sen. Kiggans

RICHMOND, Virginia — The Senate Education and Health Public Education Subcommittee recommended killing two bills from Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach): SB 766 which would ban transgender girls from playing girls’ sports, and  SB 570, which would codify Governor Glenn Youngkin’s “inherently divisive concept” ban. In its Thursday afternoon meeting the subcommittee also recommended killing Senator Travis Hackworth’s (R-Tazewell) SB 20 to eliminate a requirement that school boards adopt policies for the treatment of transgender students.

Kiggans, who is running for Congress, told the subcommittee that she was carrying SB 570 on behalf of the Youngkin administration.

“I said yes to carry this bill because I heard the voices of parents that spoke in November. You know, I was one of those parents as well,” Kiggans said, noting that Youngkin frequently talked about teaching kids how to think, not what to think.

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Virginia General Assembly Continues to Debate Youngkin Critical Race Theory Ban

RICHMOND, Virginia – The General Assembly continues to debate Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order One banning Critical Race Theory and “inherently divisive concepts.” On Wednesday, legislators debated the policy in the House Education Committee, on the House floor, and on the Senate floor. The newly-Republican-controlled House of Delegates has been slow to hear bills in committee, which generated another House floor back-and-forth, but although key anti-CRT bills haven’t been heard in the Education Committee yet, delegates got a jump-start on debating the topic when interviewing Youngkin nominee for Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.

Balow previously served as Wyoming’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, where she supported anti-CRT legislation.

“I share Governor Youngkin’s priorities for education,” Balow said.

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Governor Youngkin Issues Executive Orders Banning CRT, Ending Mask Mandate Shortly After Taking Office

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed nine executive orders and two executive directives on Saturday shortly after the inauguration. Three of the orders focus specifically on school policy, banning the use of “divisive concepts,” allowing parents to opt their children out of school mask policies, and requesting Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate the Loudoun County Public Schools.

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