Virginia Board of Education postpones public hearings for proposed history curriculum standards

The Virginia Board of Education has announced that they will delay voting on new statewide history curriculum standards, following opposition from the Youngkin administration regarding some of the proposed changes. The proposed changes that have received pushback from Gov. Youngkin (R) include removing “references to George Washington as ‘the father of our country’ and James Madison as the ‘father of the Constitution’” and using the word succession instead of secession. A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Education has said that those changes were made in error.   

The state board is responsible for updating the state’s curriculum standards every seven years. The board establishes required curriculum standards that local districts must adhere to. 

In response to the board’s decision to delay the public hearings and vote on the standards, Gov. Youngkin said, “I was pleased that the State Board of Education stepped back, granted additional time for further review before these most important history curriculum standards are released for public comment. We’re doing our work. That’s why Virginians granted us the license to lead last year. We are in fact going to do the work and make sure that we have the best history curriculum in the nation,” according to ABC 7 News

Atif Qarni (D), Virginia’s former Secretary of Education, spoke about the delay in voting on the proposed changes. Qarni contended, “I would just really encourage the board when they meet in September to go ahead and pass them. I realized they were technical edits, which I’m really surprised because we’ve had eight months under the Youngkin administration to get these rolled out. I was disappointed the governor took that [SOL errors] and politicized that even though it’s his Department of Ed, which made those technical edits and how to spell secession versus succession,” according to ABC 7 News.

The board was set to vote on the new history curriculum standards in August but announced that they will delay the vote until the fall. Public hearings on the new standards will begin in September. 

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