Virginia Education Association blasts divisive concepts removal from schools

VEA Rally in Richmond, VA.
VEA Rally in Richmond, VA.(NBC12)
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 1:13 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2022 at 4:50 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Education Association is challenging Virginia’s governor over rooting out divisive concepts inside public schools.

“It’s about teaching culturally competent lessons that have been vetted, tried and true. Many educators are on edge that no matter what they teach, it’s going to be reported to the snitch line,” said James Fedderman, VEA President.

VEA, joined by other organizations Tuesday at the Virginia State Capitol, said the concerns center around the governor’s executive order one, which bans inherently divisive concepts, including critical race theory, in public schools.

Those at the rally say that coupled with an email tip line for parents to register teaching concerns, have become a recipe for disaster within the classroom.

“And I think when we talk about quote, unquote divisive concepts, I think we’re just talking about history, and I’m afraid that if we don’t learn from our history, we’re going to repeat it,” said Taikein Cooper, Virginia Excels Executive Director.

A spokesperson for the governor fired back in a statement saying, “The politically driven VEA teacher union has failed teachers, parents, and students since 1863. Their initiatives of the past didn’t do enough to raise academic achievement, their enormous political donations to the democrats didn’t do enough to improve academic excellence, and now their baseless opinions will have no impact on the future academic success of Virginia’s next generation. Governor Youngkin is focused on bolstering education opportunities for all Virginians and remains undeterred by partisan stakeholders that continue to fail Virginia’s students and parents.”

“In public education, remember that most all decisions are political ones made by politicians, and that is so true today,” said Frank Callahan, Education Committee lead at the Virginia State Conference NAACP.

Last month, a 30-day interim report did not identify any instance of the teaching of critical race theory in the classroom. But it pointed to a range of Department of Education online materials, memos, a webinar, and a math pilot program as examples it had identified and was rescinding or evaluating.

“It can only happen when we recognize that we don’t have to live in the past, but we have to live with it,” said Amy Walters, Legal Aid Justice Center.

VEA is working to put all the material taken down by the state department of education on its website with free access.

A 90-day report will be presented to Youngkin and Secretary Guidera according to the time frame established by the executive order.

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