Governor Youngkin recently spoke to Newsmax about why he’s fighting so hard on the education issue in the Old Dominion state, noting how horribly children were impacted by school shutdowns over the past few years and describing how his administration is fighting to restore the state’s education system now that he’s replaced former Democrat Governor Ralph Northam.
Speaking about how Virginia’s schoolchildren have been deleteriously impacted by Northam’s school policies, Youngkin said:
“This is also a National Report Card. And it’s the next of the string of alarm bells ringing loudly at the detrimental impact on kids across Virginia, from decisions made over the last couple of administrations.
“Virginia now has the lowest standards for deeming what is proficient for kids in the nation; failed to hold people accountable; an opaque accreditation process, they said we have to increase the highest accreditation levels to 85%; and finally, we are watering down expectations in our curriculum.
“If you couple all of that with extended closure of schools across the Commonwealth, then you get what we have been seeing this entire year, which is results from last year that are heartbreaking and horrific.”
Giving an example of how bad things have gotten in the Old Dominion, Youngkin said:
“You have fourth graders in reading and in math that fell the furthest in the nation…we were the last in falling in reading and tied with Maryland for math. We fell three times further than the average across the nation.”
Continuing, Northam added that though Covid-era school policies were problematic, they weren’t solely to blame for the declining state of learning in Virginia, saying:
“This is a universal condemnation made in the past, long before COVID-19 came into the vocabulary. What happened under COVID-19 was something that tried to build on something that was built on sand instead of being built on rock.
And that’s when Youngkin got to describing how his administration is working on picking up the pieces and fixing things now that the GOP is back in charge, saying:
“We have got to go to work, and, on day one, my first executive order was to get divisive concepts out of the classrooms and get excellence back in.”
Continuing, he gave more examples of what his administration is doing to help Virginia’s schoolkids, saying:
“In August, we launched Executive Directive 3 to tackle the teacher shortage, and just this week we added an absolute directive from me to put our standards back at the top of the nation as opposed to last.”
“We have launched emergency tutoring programs… we have put $30 million into targeted emergency tutoring starting Jan. 1, and we have begun aggressively moving teachers into the system through an expedited licensing process for our great Virginians. I highlighted this week that there is $2 billion across the Commonwealth that is sitting in local school bank accounts that was funded to get local schools open and to close this gap, but the money remains unspent. Counties like Fairfax County have $177 million in their bank accounts, and they need to spend it.”
Still that wasn’t all. Younkin also highlighted how he’s working to put parent’s back in the driver’s seat, saying:
“Parents must be at the forefront, and as part of the whole effort to change policies and passing legislation, we are establishing a place at the Department of Education where parents can go for help to navigate the school system. Children who are way behind are going to get personalized learning strategies so that parents can see where their children are to foster transparency and empowerment.”
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