The first thing Virginia’s governor did (day one literally) was to order the Department of Education to rescind all the policies and programs related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Somehow helping people see how past and present inequities and discrimination have created huge cultural, political and economic gaps in our state and country might make those who benefitted from those policies and practices and live on the “right” side of the gap feel badly about themselves.
This concern for the tender white people is playing out in the history standards revisions, the third draft of which came out earlier this year. That draft is only marginally better than the second one, hurriedly put together late last year to replace the comprehensive draft developed by state educators and historians. The National Council for History Education recommends that the Board of Education adopt the alternative, collaborative standards developed by VASCD, VSSLC, and AHA as they offer a more complex approach to teaching history and social studies, one that encourages critical thinking rather than rote memorization.
Do not forget that Virginia’s response to Brown vs. Board of Education was to essentially close the schools. Once they were forced to desegregate, localities closed Black schools, fired Black teachers and forced Black students into hostile, white-centered environments. Friends who lived through the process tell the story of finding their school memorabilia–from football trophies to administrator photographs–in a dumpster. Their lives, their stories, were being erased.
Youngkin and his minions are simply continuing that tradition. Fortunately, the Virginia Education Association stepped in to post the EdEquity VA website. You can also find the original site by using the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive.