August 10, 2021 News & Press Releases

ICYMI: PolitiFact Exposes Youngkin’s Lie on Critical Race Theory in Virginia Schools

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Politifact: “We rate Youngkin’s statement False.”

Richmond, VA — Today, a new PolitiFact fact check is debunking another one of Glenn Youngkin’s dishonest claims -- this time on critical race theory. Throughout his campaign, Youngkin has stoked dangerous conspiracies and sought to divide Virginians on education for political gain.

Last month, Youngkin claimed that critical race theory is being taught in “all our schools in Virginia.” In fact, the Virginia Department of Education confirmed that critical race theory is not part of Virginia’s learning standards, earning Youngkin’s claim a “false” rating from fact-checkers. Youngkin’s constant lies and lack of knowledge about Virginia’s public education system are a danger to the commonwealth.

See key excerpts below and read the full fact check here.

PolitiFact: Youngkin offers little proof critical race theory is in 'all' Virginia schools.
By Warren Fiske

Glenn Youngkin stated on July 9, 2021 in a speech: “We actually have this critical race theory moved into all our schools in Virginia.” [...]

Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin says critical race theory has become pervasive in Virginia schools and must be expunged. 

"We actually have this critical race theory moved into all of our schools in Virginia," he said during a July 9 campaign speech in rural Wytheville.

"We’re actually watching this critical race theory move its way into all schools across Virginia," he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on July 23.

"Critical race theory has moved into our school system and we have to remove it," he told Fox News on Aug. 5.

Critical race theory — a broad set of ideas about systemic bias and privilege — has become a political flashpoint across the nation. It holds that racism is part of a broader pattern in America: It is woven into laws, and it shows up in who gets a job interview, the sort of home loans people are offered, how they are treated by police, and other facets of daily life large and small.

There is a movement by some educators to incorporate critical race theory into instruction, particularly in U.S. history which they say has been taught from a white vantage point. 

A central complaint of critical race theory is that, because it focuses on race, the approach is itself racist. Critics say it presents solely a negative picture of the United States and is designed to make students feel bad about their country. At least 12 states have banned critical race theory teaching, and bills barring such instruction have been introduced in at least 15 states.

The Virginia General Assembly has not considered a bill to ban critical race theory from schools. But the topic has roused emotions in a number of localities and become a key issue in Youngkin’s campaign. 

So we fact-checked his claim that "critical race theory has moved into all our schools in Virginia," and found it to be highly exaggerated.

Is critical race theory taught throughout Virginia? 

Critical race theory is not mentioned in Virginia’s Standards of Learning, which set baselines of knowledge students are expected to master in different grades and subjects.

Although the standards are set by the state Board of Education, local school systems set the teaching curricula to reach those goals. So there is no statewide count of how many schools teach critical race theory. There’s no specific definition of critical race theory curricula that would allow an objective count.

Contrary to Youngkin’s statement, however, a number of localities have issued statements saying they do not teach critical race theory. Here’s a sampling:

  • Virginia Beach
  • Colonial Heights
  • Hanover County 
  • Gloucester County 
  • Tazewell County
  • Loudoun County
  • Chesterfield County
  • Powhatan County

Youngkin’s proof

We asked Youngkin’s campaign to back up his statement that critical race theory has "moved into all of our schools in Virginia." Only a smattering of the evidence it offered pointed to individual school systems or schools. Most of it shows that Virginia educators have discussed — but not endorsed — the theory at seminars and have been encouraged to read about it. [...]

Blackstone, the Education Department’s executive spokesman, emphasized that critical race theory is not mentioned in Virginia’s learning standards. He said opponents of the theory sometimes conflate teaching it with the state’s goals of ensuring racial equity in school policies.

"Simply put, to equate all the VDOE’s educational equity work with critical race theory is inaccurate and unfair," he wrote in an email.

Blackstone said that discussion of critical race theory at seminars does not mean the department embraces it.

"Outside resources referenced by the department, and speakers selected for department-sponsored conferences and workshops represent a variety of viewpoints, and the inclusion of a particular author or speaker who is not a VDOE employee does not necessarily represent a department endorsement of all expressed views and opinions," he wrote.

Our ruling

Youngkin said, "We actually have this critical race theory moved into all our schools in Virginia."

Critical race theory is being widely discussed by educators across Virginia. But there's a difference between educators learning about the theory and actually teaching it to students. On that front, Youngkin cites a collection of memos and seminars, but no evidence that critical race theory is being taught in each of the state’s 1,825 public schools.

Critical race theory is not mentioned in the state’s Standards of Learning. A growing list of localities say they do not teach it. 

We rate Youngkin’s statement False.