April 4, 2022 News & Press Releases

ICYMI: Governor Youngkin Attacks Public Schools Again, Establishes Big Brother Watchdog Office

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Richmond, VA – After establishing a “tip line” to snitch on teachers, Big Brother authoritarian Governor Youngkin has taken his efforts one step further now and created a new office within the Department of Education to undermine public schools and established a watchdog authority over teachers. This is the Governor’s latest abuse of power to attack our public schools and their staff.

From the start of his administration, Governor Youngkin has continually attacked Virginia’s public schools. Since the release of the Governor’s failed divisive tipline, his administration has faced backlash from across the country. A growing list of educators, students, parents, and more have all condemned the Governor's efforts to bully educators and whitewash history. Gov. Youngkin threatened to use official state resources to defund Virginia schools that didn’t comply with his illegal executive order. 

“Once again the Governor is attempting to bully our teachers – first with his tip line and now with the establishment of the Watchdog Office,” said DPVA Spokesperson Gianni Snidle. “Governor Youngkin claims that education was his highest priority, but so far he has only wreaked havoc on our school systems, threatened to defund school divisions across the Commonwealth, and attacked our educators.”


WVTF: Youngkin administration creating new parent-teacher office


Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration is creating a new office within the Department of Education to provide parents with guidance on how to interact with teachers, he said Friday.

Youngkin was speaking at a forum of Latino business leaders. While speaking mostly about efforts to grow small business and his budget priorities, he told the audience about the new office.

“We're launching, as part of the Department of Education, basically a parents matter office,” he said. “And it's an office that actually is there to work with and for parents.”

What the office does, and what the final name of the office is still being finalized. But a spokesperson did say it would be a parent-teacher partnership center that would create “best practices, guidebooks, and how-tos on how parents can more effectively engage with kids' teachers.”

“This is particularly helpful in minority communities…really how to ask the right questions about what their kids are learning and how they are doing in school. It's about teaching parents how to be a partner with their kids' teacher,” said Rob Damschen, Deputy Communications Director.

Damschen said similar efforts have been successful in states like California, Massachusetts, and Texas and would also consider learning loss during school closures due to COVID-19.

Youngkin said that certain groups of parents need particular support on how to navigate the school system. Some business leaders at the event were concerned with how the education system serves Latino children and prepares them for the workforce.

The formal structure of the office hasn’t been identified yet.

“We just started putting it together inside our Secretariat of Education, so Aimee Guidera is leading it. But [it’s] a real effort to engage with parents and to listen to parents. And it's part of our campaign, we were working on this for the last year,” said Youngkin. “So finding ways to listen and collaborate and open up opportunity is really important. And this is what this is all about.”

Youngkin criticized how the history of racism is taught in Virginia on the campaign trail and garnered significant criticism over an email account he created early in his administration, which would gather parents' reports of materials they deemed objectionable. Education leaders had said it deteriorated trust between parents and teachers.

Youngkin's press secretary, Macaulay Porter, said that this office would not field complaints about curricula and teachers.