Figuring that pitting parents against schools had won him an election, Governor Glenn Youngkin has made good on his pledge to attack public education and the teachers who work there.
He started right in with an edict that schools should not teach anything "inherently divisive," one more anti-CRT law so fuzzy, subjective, and poorly-conceived that it will chill teaching of any subjects that anybody might object to. The text is spectacularly vague, and though it contains a list of some "divisive concepts" that are specifically naughty, its reliance on that "divisive concept" language guarantees that schools across the state will have no clear idea what exactly is forbidden, and so administrations not in the mood for a fight will simply instruct teachers not to talk about race, gender, or pretty much anything that might upset anybody. Is evolution divisive? History of the Civil War (particularly in Virginia)? My students were pretty divided on whether Lady MacBeth is a redeemable character or not. In fact, we used to stage debates, but I suppose those are inherently divisive, too.
To insure that the decree carries maximum power to intimidate and silence teachers, the governor has followed the lead of states like Texas and Florida and instituted a means for parents and community members to turn in any teachers for being naughty. As he explained in one interview:For parents to send us any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected, where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools. We’re asking for input right from parents to make sure we can go right to the source as we continue to work to make sure that Virginia’s education system is on the path to reestablish excellence.
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