Youngkin Unveils Education Plan at Rally in Ashburn

Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin unveiled the first phase of his education plan, vowing to ban Critical Race Theory in schools, among other measures, during a campaign event last night outside of the Loudoun Public Schools Administration Building in Broadlands.

The first phase of Youngkin’s plan focuses on standards of learning in schools. He said the next two phases of the plan, addressing funding and empowering community members, will be shared in coming weeks.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin greets supporters after a campaign rally outside the Loudoun County Public Schools administration building Wednesday, June 30. [Renss Greene/Loudoun Now]

Opposition to Critical Race Theory has been a galvanizing issue for conservatives across the county, amid claims that the academic theory is influencing curriculums throughout the division. The crowd of several hundred Youngkin supporters cheered when the candidate shared his plan to sign an executive order banning CRT.

While the School Board has gone to great lengths to dispel that misinformation surrounding its equity efforts, Youngkin insisted that there is evidence of CRT being used to train school staff. 

“Loudoun County is ground zero for the fight to return our schools to a curriculum that prepares students for the future,” Youngkin said. “The classroom is not a place for a political agenda. … We must start teaching our children how to think. Not what to think.”

Youngkin spoke to reporters after the rally and was noncommittal on the school division’s proposed Policy 8040, which is intended to comply with a new state mandate providing protections for transgender and gender fluid students—the other electrifying issue for many conservatives in the county.

“I think we need to listen to parents and gather all the data, which they haven’t done a good job of. I would encourage school boards across Virginia to make sure that they have listened to families. … This is a tough issue,” Youngkin said.

While Youngkin said that policy makers are only discussing the issue, in 2020 the Virginia Assembly did pass legislation and the Department of Education created a model policy for school boards to use, which is very similar to the proposed Policy 8040. 

The School Board has been accepting feedback on the policy over the past several months, and has heard hundreds of public comments from parents and activists. The board is required by state law to implement the policy before the start of the upcoming school year, and will vote on it during its Aug. 10 meeting. 

Youngkin also said that, if elected, he would appoint a new Secretary of Education, a new Superintendent of Schools, and appoint an entirely new State Board of Education.

He emphasized school choice and the creation of more governor’s schools for excellence, such as Thomas Jefferson High School. He said he hopes to work with the private sector to avoid diverting funding from public schools to magnet and charter institutions. 

He also excoriated the impact his opponent, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, had on education throughout the state during his term from 2014-2018. Youngkin charged that during McAuliffe’s tenure, Virginia went from being one of the best states for education to one of the worst.

“When he was governor, he lowered standards, and he dragged our children’s performance down with those diminished expectations,” Youngkin said.

Youngkin pointed to Virginia dropping from seventh to 10th in the country in student achievement on advanced placement testing. And despite denials of racial inequity in schools, Youngkin emphasized that scores are lower among Black and Hispanic students.

He also charged that Virginia has a staggering statewide 62 percent failure rate of eighth grade math, a figure that astounded the crowd. Loudoun Now reached out to the Youngkin campaign for clarification after the event. Youngkin’s claim referred to a 2019 report from the National Assessment of Academic Progress, which showed that 37 percent of Virginiga students showed basic proficiency in math, while 25 percent showed below basic proficiency. A representative from the campaign clarified that they consider scoring below the NAEP proficient level a “failure.” In the 2018-2019 academic year, 80% of Virginia students passed the 8thgrade math SOL, with 9% achieving an advanced score. 

“I often say that ‘Terry McAuliffe believes in every child left behind’,” Youngkin said.

The McAuliffe campaign has touted a plan to invest $2 billion annually into schools throughout Virginia. 

Andrea Weiskopf protests at a rally for Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin outside the Loudoun County Public Schools administration building Wednesday, June 30. [Renss Greene/Loudoun Now]

Earlier in the day, during a virtual meeting for Virginia Democrats, Loudoun School Board Vice Chairwoman Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian) called on Youngkin to tone down his party’s divisive rhetoric about schools. 

“Being a leader means focusing on what actually matters, not things that stoke fear and drive people to be divisive,” Reaser said.

While he didn’t address Reaser’s comments, Youngkin did emphasize bringing children together and teaching unity. He did not, however, acknowledge the social upheaval and tumult of last week’s School Board meeting.

While education has been the most contentious topic in Loudoun for nearly two years, only one protester demonstrated at the event. As Youngkin address the crowd for roughly 20 minutes, Andrea Weiskopf paraded through with a sign reading “If you aren’t here to protest systemic racism in LCPS, go home!” and wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt. The woman was followed by a few Youngkin supporters and incurred a few jeers.

Several groups came in support of Youngkin, including Parents Against Critical Race Theory and Fight for Schools.

School Board member John Beatty (Cactotin), who is seeking the GOP nomination for Virginia’s 10th District congressional seat, was in attendance. Beatty has been an opponent of the district’s equity work. He said the district is encouraging a radical version of racial equity education.

“I think it’s clearly there given that they give teachers the recommendation to read the book ‘How to Be an Antiracist’ by Ibram X. Kendi. They strongly encourage the Southern Poverty Law Center’s courses so teachers can take that, too,” Beatty said.

Ibram X. Kendi is an anti-racist author, historian, professor, activist and director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.

15 thoughts on “Youngkin Unveils Education Plan at Rally in Ashburn

  • 2021-07-01 at 11:38 am

    “The School Board has been accepting feedback on the policy over the past several months, and has heard hundreds of public comments from parents and activists. The board is required by state law to implement the policy before the start of the upcoming school year, and will vote on it during its Aug. 10 meeting”.

    NO. The Loudoun School Board has NOT been accepting feedback NOR LISTENING to parents. They suspended public comments because they don’t care what parents think. School Board member have nothing but distain for concerned Loudoun parents.

    Not one member has made a motion to suspend the porn that is required reading in Loudoun, nor have they apologized. Shameful behavior from all nine board members.

    CRT is part of the Loudoun curriculum and everyone knows it.

    Loudoun students deserve much better.

  • 2021-07-01 at 12:50 pm

    I’m writing in Amanda Chase, as are all of my neighbors. GOP establishment thought they could keep us from electing a real conservative, but a movement is starting. We need all Republicans on board to write in Chase as the pro-Trump candidate, not some RINO nobody’s ever heard of.

    • 2021-07-01 at 3:17 pm

      Big Mack- I think that’s a great idea. Please write in Amanda Chase. Don’t settle for a squishy RINO!!

    • 2021-07-01 at 4:35 pm

      You’ve got that right Big Mack. It should be easier to get people to write-in Amanda Chase’s name than Lisa Murkowski’s. About time we got someone to represent us.

      • 2021-07-01 at 8:29 pm

        Yes, please, spend a lot of time trying to get Amanda Chase elected. Why don’t you just move to Russia and get Putin’s directions first hand? Waiting till it filters through today’s GOP is a loser’s game…

    • 2021-07-01 at 5:00 pm

      So you are basically wasting votes which will only boost Terry. Youngkin maybe closer to a RINO, but that is better than the car salesman of Terry running things again in the state.

  • 2021-07-01 at 1:15 pm

    “Being a leader means focusing on what actually matters, not things that stoke fear and drive people to be divisive,” – So our children and what we are teaching them doesn’t matter? Really? The only ones I see driving people to be diverse are the democrats and the school board who are trying push their political agenda and trying to shut down anyone who does not agree with them.

    • 2021-07-02 at 4:36 pm

      You have to hand it to the Democrats… they got people to WANT to be segregated… in violation of Amendment XIV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964… and this is directly off of the front page of the DOJ website regarding Title VI:

      “Title VI itself prohibits intentional discrimination. However, most funding agencies have regulations implementing Title VI that prohibit recipient practices that have the effect of discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.”

      When you intentionally teach students that they are “oppressors” or “oppressed” based on the basis of race, color, or national origin you are deliberately teaching discrimination.

  • 2021-07-01 at 4:05 pm

    Any of you GOP who still supports the big orange goon are wasting your vote. There are too many smart people with a heart, soul and mind will not ever vote GOP again. Youngkin is a hack trying to swim under the radar. But in reality, any GOP running is wasting their time. We know what GOP means, it means being anti American (not one House Rep voted to look into the January 6 event), they are fighting the infrastructure bill (bridges, roads, internet), they run to the border to show off their toughness, in reality they show how stupid they are. A wall, a fence, is not going to keep out people from coming. I have been to the border many times from San Ysidro, CA to Brownsville, TX, there is no amount of wall that will stop people from coming. My dear old mom, who voted with her sisters for 50 years only GOP, will now never vote GOP again. They are embarrassed by what the GOP has become. Plain and simple, as mom said the other day, “the GOP does not care about America, they care only about their jobs!” That is is from a long time GOP voter. She will now work to get her friends and sisters to vote DEM only! So go ahead write in a Trump supporter, you are wasting your time.

    • 2021-07-10 at 10:29 am

      So why are vast numbers of Democrats moving out of liberal havens such as California, NYC, Chicago to places like Florida and Texas? Seems to me Democrats mess up their states and then move to great red states and mess them up too. This is exactly what happened to Virginia. I would love for a Democrat to explain how 3 million, low skilled, non- English speaking people can illegally cross our borders and yet somehow this is good for US citizens? Our how the government pouring massive amounts of money into the economy and encouraging people not to return to work and causing massive inflation is good for the country? Or, how much higher gasoline prices are good for the country? I could go on and on.

  • 2021-07-01 at 6:17 pm

    So, there are hundreds of people at the rally and one, single protester. Yet, LN names the protester, gives her a paragraph, quotes her sign, and even publishes a photo. Not exactly balanced.

  • 2021-07-01 at 6:54 pm

    Youngkin has a 10 percent lead as do Sears and Miyares. The democrats are trying to sell used up bagmen as governor and attorney general candidates. I hope Miyares dismantles the LGBT stuff the way Herring promoted it against the majority of the voters wishes.

  • 2021-07-01 at 8:21 pm

    Youngkin kisses up to Trump when it suits his purposes, then runs away when it doesn’t. That he comes to Loudoun and stokes the CRT nonsense tells you all you need to know about this opportunistic character.

  • 2021-07-04 at 8:47 am

    As a 33 year experienced attorney I can state that intent counts. If the intent of the “protester” was to educate the attendees then her sign was welcomed. For the astute observer the verbal responses she received were directly related to asking her to stop screaming while Mr. Youngkin was speaking and to stop putting her sign in front of the cameras trying to document the event. (not jeering her) Her intent was to disrupt in my pinion and when one person tries to intentionally disrupt the rights of hundreds of others it showed a lot of restraint by the crowd to allow it which is the kind oof unity for a common, positive purpose I heard Mr. Youngkin emphasize. Now for the apparent comment by a school board member about “what really matters”. How about putting that self serving, bragging point into action and STOP busing the Plaza Street neighborhood kids OUT of their neighborhood and let them walk to Frederick Douglas E.S. WALK THE WALK on equity or don’t claim you even understand it! 🙂

  • 2021-07-05 at 1:00 pm

    Youngkin has my vote and glad to see someone who wants to improve education in our state. A state that ranked 45 out of 50 states in test scores – report released June 2021….we need a leader to focus on education and learning…..not the focus of democrats, which is division and hate…..

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