Whatever winner in Virginia’s governor race, the one clear winner is education as an issue that galvanizes. In a state shifting blue, Democrat Terry McAuliffe was the favorite to win—right up until parents loudly challenged public school polices and the candidate essentially told them to sit down and shut up. This arrogant insult made Republican Glenn Youngkin a serious candidate, as he focuses on education issues. This raises the question of whether it is just another opportunity for culture wars or an opportunity for support for school option policies that provide just about everything that people want.
Protests were held across the nation at board meetings, following a controversy over pandemic policies and creeping politicalization of school curricula.
“Constituents have shown up at normally placid meetings to voice dissent of everything from mask mandate policies – or the lack of them – to teaching critical race theory and policies around transgender students,” Not notedCNN.
An unaccustomed discussion prompted the National School Boards Association to request federal intervention against parents who were angry. This was a decision it made on its own. Revocation of the boardAs state associations DisaffiliatedThe national organization. Virginia is where Protests were particularly violentTerry McAuliffe made a bold move to make the NSBA more outrageous by revealing that Loudon County school officials were not aware of a sexual assault occurring in a school bathroom.
McAuliffe said, “I don’t believe that parents should be telling school what they should learn.” huffed during a September 28 debate against Youngkin. He was suddenly no longer the favorite.
A CBS affiliate in the area reported that “Polls have shown Terry McAuliffe & Glenn Youngkin remain neck and neck in Virginia’s governor race”. reportedMid-October Education is the top priority for voters with just two weeks before Election Day. This article highlighted the frustration felt by parents when public school officials misunderstand them and raise questions about racialized curricula.
Both polls have averages FiveThirtyEightAnd RealClearPoliticsAs the Education controversy broke, Youngkin moved from last to an extremely slight lead over McAuliffe. Voters Monmouth University pollstersThey ranked education second, with Youngkin leading by just one point. Cygnal poll, October late. Youngkin was given a solid lead over McAuliffe among parents of K-12 children—no surprise when 78% of parentsThey should be able to have an important say on what is taught to their children.
Youngkin made his chances better in the race for the gubernatorial seat by emphasizing education. He did this in ways that weren’t always compatible with his other interests: WebsiteHe pledges to remove political agendas from classrooms by banning critical race theory and to create at least 20 new innovation charter schools across the K-12 spectrum to provide choice. While the first policy will be a welcome change for parents and students who have been offended by the racialized lessons they hear, it is likely to cause resentment among those who see schools as glossing over America’s mistakes and perpetuate the culture war against schools. This policy allows both parties to choose their preferred schools and could end classroom wars.
Virginian parents are limited in their options if they don’t like public school. There are limited options for parents in Virginia who don’t like public schools. There are only eight charter schoolsWith little autonomy. It’s possible to also have a modest tax-credit programDonations to private school tuition the state is “ModerateIn terms of burdensome regulations on homeschoolers leaving this as an option for families. And those who can afford tuition at private schools in addition to the taxes paid by public schools may opt out.
Terry McAuliffe is one of those people who has such resources. His children attended a private, expensive schoolYet, he supported making them available for people with limited means even though it was contrary to his beliefs. From 2014 to 2018, he was Governor (Virginia prohibits consecutive terms). vetoed legislationThat would have allowed for the easier creation of charter schools. It would also have enabled families to access education savings accounts that could be used to pay for services they select.
Growth in the economy is clear evidence that education options are needed. homeschoolingAnd private schooling even as public–school enrollment declines. It’s remarkable considering Virginia families who have left the government must continue to pay for its services.
Virginia has many families that don’t want it all. Because of the risk of infection from COVID-19, some opt to homeschool. Oppose in-person instructionOther families favor them. There have been some ugly battles about curriculum between the two families. Parent on the other sideThis is the ideology divide. For government schools, it is difficult, or even impossible to accommodate both families who are ready to go back to their normal lives and those who wish to maintain the pandemic-inspired social divisiveness. Making lessons for parents who want to maintain racial neutrality in school is difficult. This makes it even harder to appeal to people who support an anti-racist agenda. Youngkin and McAuliffe have two options. They can choose sides in the battles, and hope to win. Or they can provide a solution by offering a path out of culture war and letting students go. Battleground
Schools can choose to be independent from parent conflicts and school board fights. Funding will follow the students’ education. How can neighbors with differing preferences choose from the same options? There is no need to disagree. People are becoming more aware that fighting for government monopolies will not work and choosing peace is the best way forward.
Tommy Schultz (CEO of American Federation for Children) stated that “public support for school choice has reached an all-time high.” CommentIt was June. His organization polled 74% of the respondents to its survey. They supported the idea that parents could use tax dollars to pay for education so their child can attend the private or public school that suits them best.
September saw 74% of parents attending school. EdChoice polledSupported education savings accounts were 70 percent, while school vouchers were supported by 70%. The same percentage supported charter schools. The choice is somewhat limited MorePopular among VirginiansWho votes this week?
Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe are running for the governorship. This race shows parents that they will not be ignored when it comes down to education. This will invariably fuel a national focus on education as an issue for political candidates across the country. The battle for Virginia will not result in a winner-takes-all win, but rather in positive outcomes for everyone.