RICHMOND, VA – Tonight, Glenn Youngkin is scheduled to appear on CNN for a Town Hall with Jake Tapper, being billed as “Glenn Youngkin And The Battle Over Education.”
“It’s bizarre that CNN would invite Glenn Youngkin to lead a town hall called ‘the battle over education’ when he has committed his administration to a battle against education. Thanks to the hard work of Virginia Democrats and his own incompetence, his efforts to deprioritize the needs of Virginia’s parents, teachers, and students has collapsed,” said Liam Watson, Press Secretary of the Democratic Party of Virginia. “From the outset, Youngkin has been using children as political pawns, exploiting parents’ natural concern for their children for his own political gain, and has abandoned educators by working to siphon money away from public education. Youngkin is on the wrong side of how most Virginians believe public schools should be run, and at the end of the day, the ones who suffer are kids.”
In preparation for Youngkin’s CNN Town Hall, let’s review the state of Youngkin’s war on public education in the Commonwealth:
Loss of $201 Million in K-12 Funding
At the end of January, we saw Glenn Youngkin’s disgraceful and embarrassing budgeting error, which has cost K-12 public schools $201 million. This budgetary shortfall will cost the largest school district, Fairfax, upwards of $18 million, but the greatest impact will be felt in rural parts of the Commonwealth, where school districts rely on the state for a greater percentage of their funding.
To date, Youngkin still has not shared a plan to fix this MASSIVE budgetary shortfall. Even Republicans are rightfully turning on the governor over this error. Even Delegate Barry Knight, Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, couldn’t hold his tongue.
Resignation of Superintendent Jillian Balow
Since her appointment, Jillian Balow has demonstrated both her poor judgment and her overall inexperience.
School divisions across the Commonwealth are now left to clean up the messes that were created by her mishandling of revised history standards, anti-LGBTQ model policies, the removal of equity resources despite teachers and administrators being evaluated on cultural competency, and, most recently, an as-of-yet unresolved calculation error that has left a gaping $201 million hole in the budget of K-12 public schools statewide.
Governor Youngkin has repeatedly refused to tell parents, teachers, and students whether or not he asked for Balow’s resignation. Meanwhile, the Virginia Republican Party dismissed the concerns of families and educators, calling the murky departure of Balow a “routine staff turnover.”
We can only hope that Governor Youngkin uses Balow’s departure as an opportunity to hire someone with the credentials to do the job – and to correct for the governor’s shameful mishandling of the missing $201 million.
Youngkin’s ‘Divisive Concepts’ Teacher Snitch Line
Governor Youngkin has forced Virginia’s students, teachers, and principals into the middle of a politically driven culture war, designed to boost his future presidential ambitions in a possible contest between himself and Governor DeSantis, well known for his attacks on public education.
A mere two weeks into his administration, Youngkin wreaked havoc on our public schools by creating a poorly conceived hotline to intimidate educators teaching what the Republican governor deemed “divisive concepts.”
Youngkin claimed executive privilege to prevent the release of the emails after multiple FOIA requests, ultimately being sued by numerous media outlets. Ultimately, Youngkin was finally forced to sunset the so-called hotline, having done little more than boost his bona fides as an anti-public education governor.
A Proposal to “Whitewash” K-12 Education
Recently, the Virginia Board of Education voted to accept for the first review of the newest draft of Virginia’s hotly debated history and social science standards on a 5-3 vote, after rejecting a previous version in November which “whitewashed” much of Virginia’s history.
Before passing the most recent draft, the Board listened to four hours of public comment from parents from all over the Commonwealth, as they pleaded with the Board not to pass this version. Despite the backlash, the board moved to advance the draft, demonstrating once again that Glenn Youngkin and his right-wing fan club don’t actually care what Virginian parents want for their children.
Appointment of a Eugenicist to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors
On July 1 of last year, Youngkin nominated Bert Ellis to the UVa Board of Visitors, which was immediately met with resistance after learning that during his time at UVa, Mr. Ellis helped organize an event called “The Correlation Between Race and Intelligence,” featuring William Shockley, an unabashed racist and eugenicist apologist. Nearly 50 years later, Ellis has failed to acknowledge the irreparable damage caused by that event, and Youngkin failed to withdraw his nomination.
As recently as last week, Bert Ellis found himself in hot water again over a series of hateful and combative text messages obtained by The Washington Post through a FOIA request, in which he disparaged administrators and student groups, enlisting playground taunts and calling them “numbnuts.”