Virginia Governor Race Is an Education Policy Wake-Up Call That Democrats (and the Media) Won’t Heed

His gubernatorial fortunes were sliding in the polls one week prior to today’s election. Terry McAuliffe (ex-governor and Clinton-world heavyweight) made the strange suggestion that Virginia is a state with effective racism strategies.

McAuliffe stated that Glenn Youngkin doubled his efforts to promote the divisive culture warfares in the last week of the race. He made this statement after McAuliffe’s Republican opponent ran. advertisementMcAuliffe was not responsive to mother’s complaints about her objections to explicit sexual material in unnamed novels (Toni Morrison’s). Beloved(that had been given to her senior high school son). “Youngkin’s closing message of book banning and silencing esteemed Black authors is a racist dog whistle designed to gin up support from the most extreme elements of his party—mainly his top endorser and surrogate, Donald Trump.”

McAuliffe’s statements can be seen in many different ways. Most of them are surrealist. Youngkin isn’t interested in Trump being a “surrogate,” but Trump does. In a state where Joe Biden won the election by 10 points and Hillary Clinton by five percentage points respectively, it is plausible to win Trumpy support. Barack Obama won twice. It is possible for parents to choose not to read certain assigned books. However, it would be the same as banning and silencering their authors.

Yet there is indeed something “fueling” the rise of the relatively unknown, younger–Mitt Romneyesque Youngkin. Democrats living in Democratic-run areas tend to refer to this as “divisive cultural war,” although the better term might be “people passionately, if not sloppily), criticizing Democratic governance schools.” The top concern of voters in Virginia is education policy. It’s the largest and most important issue of local government. most likely to prefer Youngkin

The political phenomenon that occurred in Virginia, a purple state, should prompt educators and left-leaning journalists to examine it and reflect. Virginia, after all, had the seventh most closed K-12 system during the coronavirus-marred 2020–21 school year, clustered on the restrictive end of the spectrum with blue states like California, Oregon, and Maryland, while the open-school states were predominantly Republican.

Far too many people have instead followed McAuliffe in placing Youngkin’s sudden rise on the latent right-wing racism which has been so successful this century. School closures, distance learning, masking policies, quarantine guidelines, learning loss, the shuttering of Gifted and Talented programs—all get frequently collapsed into the reductionist notion that opposition to “critical race theory” overrides all, and that there’s some kind of sleeper-cell potency in agitating against Toni Morrison

“The operative term is not.” CriticalBut it is not TheoryIt is Race,” argued political science professor and go-to conventional wisdom–purveyor Larry Sabato MondayMSNBC. That is the only thing that matters. It is what makes it stick. There’s a lot of—we can call it ‘white backlash,’ ‘white resistance’; whatever you want to call it, it has to do with race….This is a post-factual era. It doesn’t matter that the subject is not taught in Virginia schools. This is a generalized mindset that whites have to be held accountable for, and it’s time we did something. ‘We,’ being white voters.”

Washington PostPaul Waldman, columnist for the Washington Post maintained that Youngkin’s actions were not racist. “There are no dog whistles left in American politics.” This is about “base mobilization,” not “persuading votes in the middle”, it seems. In a state where the GOP has not voted for President in 17 years, it’s again this.

As a gesture of charity I encourage Democrats, to put a headline on their forearms. This is Juan Williams from Fox News, who wrote Monday’s insinuation. The Hill“Parents’ Rights” refers to white race politics. Parents will be offended if you say that trying to influence their children’s school policies is a wink-nudge to hate on dark skinned people. Such choices do not successful political strategies make.

Calling people racist can work in the short term—to shut critics up, guilt people into accepting policy changes they don’t agree with, even drive out the demographically/ideologically undesirable. For people unfairly placed on the other side of our politically culture’s breezy standards to deploy the scarlet letter, they are not alone. RThese can have a profound effect on your life. Shame’s power diminishes with overuse. People will say things they don’t like to hear if they aren’t afraid to talk.

These things are: batshit conspiratorial anti-Semitic rantsThese are the types of class/race anxiety and atavistic attitudes that often have distorted education policy so that it has been favourable to majority populations, at the expense or minorities. The country is strange and ideologically varied. It still has some legacy policies of segregationist policies. Before all that, the open-mic portions of public meetings weren’t an intellectual or artistic success.

Here are some power relationships that I believe (in my far-off bubble), have more to do Youngkin support then even the I-Hate-Toni-Morrison Club. McAuliffe was a speaker at Monday’s preelection rally, and was President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi WeingartenThis is the man who has been one of America’s worst villains in recent years.

Weingarten will appear on the cover when history books about U.S. K-12 school closings are published. The story of two historians who took part in the Washington PostMcAuliffe’s scandalous debate gaffe. Weingarten was the one calling it “a joke”.Great piece

This is the type of workaday condescension and pandemic-era power flex that has a subset of parents—especially in the blue states where teachers unions hold sway—apoplectic. It’s not always the education policies based on equity that make the blood vessels narrow in my area. Instead, it’s the unimaniacal attention to those who are facing much larger challenges like COVID-19.

A recent article referred to the straight-man advice of an author. Saturday Night LiveSketch sketching lunatic school board meetings. It was clear that officials just wanted things to be focused on COVID related policy and the vox pop rabble railed about other non-sequiturs, most hilariously vaping or “anal”. The reality has been the opposite for most of the past 19 months. Three members of the San Francisco Unified school district board are facing recall elections not because they want to teach American race history and warts, but rather because the district wanted 44 schools to be renamed while students were still banned from entering the schools.

The last of American civil life’s neutral fields, the public schools, are arguably one of the most important. This is a time in which partisans have little regard for neutrality. Their governance is bound to be a hotly debated affair with hyperbolic excess on both sides. However, if McAuliffe fails Tuesday and Democrats make a victim-racists argument, then this institution, which they have a majority of influence over in 2021, will slide even closer to collapse. It’s time to learn from this.