VIRGINIA, USA — Every seven years Virginia law requires the state to revise its learning standards, this year's newest rollout is turning heads and sparking criticism for some across the Commonwealth.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Younkin's administration released their new education plan this week, but it has raised criticism online including that it whitewashes history.
What is in Virginia’s new education standards and what changed?
- Governor Glenn Youngkin
- Dr. Amy Tillerson-Brown from the Virginia NAACP
- The new and old documents for the education plan
What We Know:
Some big claims are that the new version calls indigenous peoples 'the first immigrants' and that Martin Luther King Jr. and Juneteenth were removed from the document.
The governor was asked if these changes were actually made as well as if there was any oversight for the items that were claimed to be removed.
"Well, I so first of all, there were omissions and mistakes made. The specifics here, I don't know. But what I do know is that this is a document that is going to get right. And as I said, I haven't been pleased with where we are. It does not reflect my initial directive," Gov. Youngkin said in response to the claims.
The change can be seen in the new document, but Gov. Youngkin said part of the issue is a misunderstanding. He says the original 400-page document was supposed to be two documents – one for standards and one for curriculum.
"The curriculum documents have so much of the content that people are looking for," Gov. Youngkin said. " And they - it doesn't show up all in the standards."
That may be why the new standards are only around 50 pages
So if there are two documents, one for standards and one for curriculum, how do the new standards compare to the old ones?
Looking at the current version, established in 2015, major differences could be found between the standards listed in the documents for second graders including the major holidays that will be taught. The draft of the new standards shows Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, and Veteran's Day while the previous version listed Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.
In the new proposed draft, students will also learn patriotic songs such as America the Beautiful.
When the governor was asked if he was okay with the word racism being included in a document he said yes because racism exists. He expressed that he wants to tell the good and bad of American history.
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