December 6, 2023

Even earlier than he was elected, Virginia Gov. [Glenn] Youngkin centered his consideration on dangerous, fabricated fibs about public schooling. He allied with far proper activists to push regressive insurance policies, significantly those who would strip funding, respect, fairness, and stability from public faculties in an ongoing try to privatize the funding of public schooling whereas decimating our public faculties. Fortunately, most of the payments that focused these targets had been stopped by the Virginia Senate in the course of the 2023 Common Meeting earlier than they may turn into regulation. 

Youngkin’s 2021 Gubernatorial win is attributed to his profitable use of tradition wars, faux narratives, and manufactured outrage over claims that folks had been being denied their rights, regardless of a wealth of proof on the contrary. He continues to make use of this technique to affect the upcoming election in November, when all seats within the Virginia Common Meeting are up for election, regardless of being knowledgeable that a lot of his claims are unfounded. 

For instance, Governor Youngkin claimed that scholar efficiency on the nation’s report card (Nationwide Evaluation of Schooling Progress) was “catastrophic,” and that Virginia’s college students are doing worse than their friends in different states. The reality is that Virginia college students carried out as properly or higher than college students nationwide on the [NAEP], and Virginia’s public faculties are rated fourth out of all of the states, primarily based on opinions by each Forbes and the World Inhabitants Assessment. The Governor appears impervious to strategies he cease making these claims, in all probability as a result of he sees a political benefit to disinformation being shared. However, he was advised his claims are primarily based on a flawed evaluation of scholar check scores and are obviously false. 

Northern Virginia is in Youngkin’s crosshairs for assaults as a result of that a part of the state tends to reject the validity of Youngkin’s tradition battle points, simply as they rejected him in his gubernatorial election. Most residents view public schooling as a cornerstone of democracy and help the tenant of the One Fairfax coverage that each one residents deserve an equitable alternative to succeed. It’s the area’s resistance to Youngkin’s fomenting of concern over manufactured crises, efforts to undermine public schooling, and his concentrating on of essentially the most susceptible college students that pulls the governor’s ire. 

Not too long ago, The Youngkin administration focused public college techniques in Northern Virginia with three investigations, with threats of much more. The primary investigation began the day Lawyer Common [Jason] Mijares took workplace, when he commissioned a grand jury to analyze the dealing with of a scholar sexual assault within the Loudoun County Public College system. Though the grand jury really useful no fees towards the college system and located important points with the sheriff’s investigation associated to the assault, the grand jury report was utilized by the Youngkin administration to make unrelated fees. 

In January 2023, Miyares initiated one other investigation at the Governor’s request, involving a delay of Nationwide Advantage Recommended Certificates at Fairfax Excessive Faculties. He questioned whether or not the certificates had been purposefully withheld from Asian American college students, primarily based on quite a few allegations from a single reporter who had brazenly admitted her involvement in Yougnkin’s 2021 election success. Nevertheless, the courts rejected Miyares’ request for a subpoena for the college board information in that case. The claims of civil rights violations is especially ironic as a result of Miyares decimated the Workplace of Civil Rights, but is utilizing that workplace and the Virginia Human Rights Administration to pursue these costly, misguided investigations. 

Miyares is investigating whether or not the revised admissions coverage at TJ discriminates towards Asian college students, although the Supreme Court docket is at present deciding whether or not to take up the difficulty. 

At the moment, there’s a wrestle between Northern Virginia public college boards and the Youngkin administration over the revised mannequin insurance policies for transgender college students. Northern Virginia counties had been the primary to refuse to undertake the revised coverage as a result of it rolled again current protections for transgender college students, which had been in compliance with anti-discrimination legal guidelines. Miyares insisted these college boards had been required to observe the brand new coverage for transgender college students, and that their refusal was a willful violation of state coverage. Some steered {that a} showdown between the governor and FCPS was coming, and Miyares steered that folks can and will take authorized motion towards college districts that defy the governor’s coverage, and that his workplace “shall be monitoring all litigation and shall be ready to take part if acceptable.” 

Such strong-armed ways labored in Virginia Seashore. Though they initially resisted the governor’s revised coverage, when confronted with litigation the Virginia Seashore College Board revised their coverage to fall in keeping with the governor’s mannequin coverage. Authorized specialists say the mannequin insurance policies are for steering solely. Fairfax County hasn’t modified from their unique rejection of the brand new coverage, and there’s no indication they’ll change. Dr. Michelle Reid, Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Faculties, responded that the district is inside the regulation by rejecting the coverage, and that the FCPS system is in compliance with FCPS Regulation 2603, federal regulation, and anti-discrimination insurance policies. 

Not too long ago, Youngkin made an unhinged declare that the Fairfax County Public College system has a “maniacal concentrate on equal outcomes,” constant along with his anti-woke marketing campaign that efficiently elected him in 2021. Does he really feel that fomenting outrage over manufactured crises will give him a political benefit? It labored for him in 2021, and shortly we are going to know if it really works for him within the crucial election in November, when all legislative and lots of college board seats are up for election. 

Writer’s bio: Marianne Ok. Burke, Ph.D. is a co-founder and board member of 4 Public Schooling, Chair of the Schooling Working Group for the Virginia Grassroots Coalition, and chief of Fairfax Indivisible.