Virginia’s new Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) signed his first executive order just hours after taking office on January 15, promising “to restore excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory” in public schools. On Monday morning, the Republican governor explained on radio station WMAL DC how exactly he plans to start that process for the people of Virginia.
The former Rice basketball player is not only having a “systematic” review of the academic process in Virginia, but he is challenging his entire educational team to make the Old Dominion’s educational system number one in the nation.
WMAL interviewed Youngkin Tuesday morning and asked him directly what his plans were for making his first executive order a reality.
“We have instructed the secretary of education and our state’s superintendent of public schools, to go to work and evaluate raising standards,” Youngkin told the hosts. “We are right now, ranked roughly 50th in the nation when it comes to standards, and I challenged everyone that by the time that we’re done together, over this next four years, to be number one.”
“So it’s going to be a systematic process to raise those standards again,” he continued. “Oh, by the way, it was a process that was undertaken by unelected bureaucrats who did this to Virginia. And we are going to go back and turn it around and I have absolutely instructed our education department to get it done.”
The executive order is in direct response to one of Youngkin’s key pledges in his race for Virginia’s gubernatorial office. During the campaign, Youngkin repeatedly stressed that Virginia, and America as a whole, needed to raise academic standards and increase “excellence” in the classroom and beyond.
As outlets like The Daily Wire exposed how ingrained Critical Race Theory and transgender ideology were in the Commonwealth’s school districts, voters rallied around Youngkin’s focus on improving education during last year’s campaign.
In June of 2021, Youngkin outlined a plan that would “return common sense to the classroom, so that children are taught how to think instead of what to think.”
The Daily Wire previously reported that Virginia’s education system has only become worse since 2019, thanks mostly to Democrats:
Since Democrats took control of the state legislature in 2019, residents have noticed a rapid decline in education, with schools remaining closed for most of the year due to coronavirus at the behest of teachers unions. State agencies, meanwhile, have increasingly focused on pushing political and racial ideas in the classroom, and even floated eliminating advanced mathematics because of racially unequal outcomes.
“Youngkin will make restoring schools to engines of rigorous academics that are responsive to parents’ desires a centerpiece of his platform, his campaign said,” The Daily Wire noted at the time.
In addition, he promised to “remove politics from the classroom” and return to the basics of education with a focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic while promoting transparency for parents.
His new mission to raise standards comes in stark contrast to certain Virginia school districts like Arlington County. As The Daily Wire previously reported, the Northern Virginia county recently introduced a proposal for a new grading system, based on the idea of equity, that would allow an unlimited number of retakes on assignments, ban extra credit, and would block grading on homework assignments.