Don’t Rewrite American History to Feed a Political Agenda

Target: Glenn Youngkin, Governor of Virginia

Goal: Consult with experts to develop a factual and inclusive history curriculum.

Glenn Youngkin used the topic of education to great advantage when he won Virginia’s governorship. For months, his campaign ads touted “politicized” curriculums that “left parents out.” But now it’s the governor’s new proposed history standards for grades K-12 that are drawing withering criticism.

New guidelines are written within the state every seven years, and typically the process goes smoothy. Today’s highly charged political climate has changed this usual standard, however. While historians, educators, and the organizations representing educators are a major part of developing the guidelines, this time they were apparently cut from the discussion entirely. Instead, Governor Youngkin reportedly made conservative lobbyists his main points of influence.

The result was a muddled set of standards rife with glaring omissions and blatant historical inaccuracies. Initial information that was absent included mentions of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the words Nazi and racism. As for mistakes, indigenous Native Americans were erroneously referred to as the nation’s first immigrants. Errors about Virginia itself were even included, such as the former location of the state capital and the last president hailing from Virginia.

The shoddiness of these documents is not surprising. While a previous set of standards from the prior administration was painstakingly crafted for close to two years and had the backing of hundreds of historical experts, the governor’s guidelines were cobbled together in about a month. The Virginia Board of Education, which includes several individuals appointed by Youngkin, has already rejected these guidelines once.

Sign the petition below to demand Governor Youngkin start honoring his campaign pledge and stop trying to politicize and rewrite history.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Youngkin,

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This fundamental concept is one of the reasons why history is such a cornerstone of education curriculums. You claim to care about children learning a balanced and untainted-by-politics view of history. You say that you want the youth of today to be fully prepared for the challenges of tomorrow.

Your actions indicate otherwise. The Virginia Board of Education, the Virginia Education Association, and countless numbers of the state’s historians, teachers, and—yes—parents have expressed deep concern about your revised education standards. Rather than getting defensive and honing in on just one of the issues of concern, why do you not honor your campaign pledge and listen to these voices? Listen to the experts who bring to light historical inaccuracies and listen to individuals concerned that students are not being prepared by understanding the full breadth of history.

If you truly care about education as more than a political wedge issue, bring these diverse voices together and enact a curriculum framework that does not hide or obscure but embraces this nation’s full and complicated history. Education should be about enlightenment, not willful ignorance. Give students the tools and the information to think for themselves and to succeed as fully informed adults.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kate Graur


One Comment

  1. Youngkin is a professor of history? Don’t think so. Who is he to rewrite history? Crimes were committed since the Pilgrims landed in this country. Horrible things have been done to innocent people. Many harms are still coming to innocent people. Yet to have the gull to re-write history for K through 12 grades is preposterous! If the shoe were on the other foot would he appreciate lies being told to his young children to make the white Europeans look better in print? To this day not one promise has ever been kept to the Native Americans. Not one! This government lies, promises, even signs treaties but never once has enforced the treaties. It’s now happening again. It’s disgraceful! Younkin is out of his league. He hasn’t the knowledge or leadership to make all the wrongs right but to rewrite history is an insult to the rest of America.

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