Virginia Board of Education advances controversial history standards

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 7:41 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia Board of Education has voted to advance the latest version of controversial standards that will guide the teaching of history and social science in the state’s public schools.

Board members made the decision Thursday afternoon, during a marathon board meeting that included more than four hours of public comment.

“We need to look at things that are more thoroughly developed, not things that are thrown together for political purposes,” one speaker told board members.

“There are puzzling omissions and generalizations that will make teaching an honest and unbiased history impractical,” said another.

Most of the speakers were critical of the revised standards. So was board chair Dan Gecker, who agreed the document has significant flaws.

“And it’s not clear to me how we get to fixing those flaws if that’s the draft that goes out right now for public hearing,” Gecker said.

Board member Anne Holton moved to replace the draft, or amend it. Both efforts were unsuccessful.

The majority of board members, who were appointed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, voted to advance the new standards with an assurance that changes will be considered.

I don’t want to end on a sour note,” said board member Andy Rotherham. “It is time to get this to the public And I think they have a right to respond to all of it in total. And I think we’ll get some great feedback.”

Dr. Alan Seibert, a board member from the Roanoke Valley, described the decision as a “milepost, not a destination.”

The process will bring public hearings in the Spring, and adoption in June.