Virginia Department of Education Presents Proposed Changes to History Standards – | Team Cansler

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration has proposed changes to revise Virginia’s history and social sciences learning standards.

The Virginia Department of Education published a draft on Friday the revised proposed standards developed with input from educators, historians, parents, students and others, and proposed by the department under the administration of the government at the time. Ralph Northam.

The state school board was due to vote on the proposed guidelines over the summer. But Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow recommended delays to give the five new board members appointed by Youngkin more time to review the approximately 400-page standard document.

Proponents praised the proposed guidelines, but critics called them “politically motivated interference in the academic curriculum.”

“Students will have a deep understanding of the good and bad in the world, the history of the United States and Virginia,” the Department of Education wrote in the new draft. “The standards will include a celebration of the qualities and actions that have made America the global model of freedom, opportunity and democratic ideals.”

This language is consistent with how Youngkin spoke about history during his gubernatorial campaign, when he made parental rights and oversight in education a priority and said that students should be taught all sides of history.

Virginia public school students should be exposed to historical facts “even if those facts are uncomfortable,” the draft adds. To do this, the draft says, teachers should work with students “in age-appropriate ways that don’t blame any population in the classroom.”

Republicans tried earlier this year to pass measures to ban “inherently divisive” approaches to teaching in Virginia as part of Youngkin’s education agenda, with state lawmakers voicing concerns about what’s being taught in schools.

The first action Youngkin took after being sworn in as governor was to sign an executive order ending it “the use of divisive concepts, including critical race theory, and the raising of academic standards” in public education.

The eradication of critical race theory, an academic framework based on the idea that racism is systemic and perpetuates itself in society, has been made a campaign talking point by Youngkin and other Virginia Republicans.

Despite parent concerns and Youngkin’s efforts to prevent it, the Virginia Department of Education said ahead of the 2021 state election that critical race theory is not part of the Commonwealth’s K-12 curriculum.

The Virginia Education Association, a union representing more than 40,000 teachers and school administrators, said the Department of Education’s new draft “represents the worst kind of politically motivated interference in the academic curriculum.”

“The standards are rife with blatant political bias, outdated language used to describe enslaved people and Native Americans, highly subjective formulations of American moralism and conservative ideals, racist overtures coded throughout, demands on teachers to present stories of discrimination and racism as ‘balanced.’ without personal or political bias’ and restrictions on allowing ‘teacher-created curricula’ that are permitted in all other subjects,” said Dr. James J. Fedderman, President of VEA, in a statement.

Fedderman claimed that the design appears to be largely borrowed from Hillsdale College “1776 curriculum,‘ which is seen as a conservative response to The New York Times’ ‘1619 Project’.

The education department will provide curriculum frameworks “to further enrich and clarify the concepts set out in the learning standards.” The draft established a prescribed order of historical and social sciences:

  • K-3: Organized into four core strands: history, geography, civics, and economics. History provides an overview of ancient world history, early American history, Greek and Roman ancient civilizations
  • 4th grade: Virginia Studies, chronological history of the history of Virginia
  • 5th grade: US History I, America’s history from its beginnings to the Civil War
  • 6th grade: US History II, the History of Civil War America – Present
  • 7th grade: Civics and Economics
  • 8th grade: world geography
  • 9th grade: World History I, Prehistory up to 1500 AD
  • 10th class: World History II, AD 1500 to the Present
  • 11th grade: Virginia and US History
  • 12th class: Virginia and US Government

The draft also lists the “founding principles” for the proposed learning standards, including that the “Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are remarkable documents that provide the liberties and framework for our constitutional republic” and “America is extraordinary, but not perfect.”

Proponents of the draft, including the group Fight for Schools, hailed the proposed policies, which were put in place by the Youngkin administration.

“History is a function of human nature, of conflict and progress. It can be inspirational, it can be dark and it can be challenging to teach and learn,” said Ian Prior, the group’s chief executive, in a statement. “These proposed changes in history and social studies instruction address these challenges by providing students with an objective knowledge of historical facts and an understanding of human nature that fuels both conflict and progress. Applied correctly by educators in the classroom, it will unlock important critical thinking skills that students can use to make their own analysis and decisions as they mature into young leaders.”

The State Board of Education is required to review and revise “if necessary” the State Department of Education learning standards for all subjects at least every seven years. under Virginia law.

Local school districts are primarily responsible for setting the curriculum, but the standards proposed by the department provide schools with guidance on the subjects required.

The Education Committee is scheduled to discuss the proposed changes on Thursday. If the standards are approved by the board early next year, they will be implemented for the 2024-2025 school year.

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