VLBC rejects ‘whitewash’ of state’s school curriculum
11/23/2022, 6 p.m.
The members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC) write to condemn and reject the revised draft Virginia History and Social Science standards of learning proposed last Friday by the Governor’s Administration. The members of the VLBC have deep concerns with the politically-drafted revised standards that literally revise, whitewash, and omit important history in Virginia’s school curriculum.
These revisionist standards prevent Virginia’s students from learning about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks until sixth grade. Students will not learn about important leaders and cultures that greatly contribute to the history and makeup of the United States. The new revisions also include coded racist appeals and blatant partisan bias.
Members of the VLBC also take offense to the focus on “identifying slave trade as profitable business in America” and “identifying the kinship, family ties, and common values that helped enslaved people cope with the conditions of slavery.” Many African-Americans today do not have records or knowledge of their ancestral history due to the cruel and intentional separation of families and poor record-keeping for African-Americans. It is crucial to teach the true and full history of our Commonwealth and our nation and not sugarcoat and revise history in order to make people feel good.
This new revisionist proposal also completely disregards the thoughtful, professional and rigorous two-year process and proposal set forth on Aug. 17 by experts, historians and educators with public input. The revised draft proposal also disregarded and removed a majority of the recommendations made in 2020 by the Virginia Commission on African-American History Education.
The members of the VLBC strongly urge the Board of Education to reject these revisionist standards that were written in order to advance a political agenda. We instead urge the Board to move forward with the review process using the original Aug. 17 draft that was thoughtfully and carefully developed by Virginia experts, stakeholders and educators with public input.
Mr. Bagby represents the 74th District as a delegate and is chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.