Virginia is shaping up as ground zero in the battle over schools and Critical Race Theory. The “theory” is pure poison, a hard-edged identity politics from the radical Left teaching that America is an irredeemably racist country suffused by white supremacy. Students must—must—acknowledge this, or pay the price. Dissent will not be tolerated. Parents are in an uproar, particularly in Virginia, where CRT has become a major issue in the gubernatorial contest between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. Polls show a tight race.
The CRT fight in Virginia has been brewing all year. “Perhaps nowhere has the debate over critical race theory grown so heated as in Loudoun County” in Northern Virginia, the Washington Post reported in May. Loudoun put nearly half a million dollars into a consulting firm for teacher training and raising “racial consciousness.” Parents grew alarmed and tensions increased. CRT “is teaching kids to see other kids through a strictly identity group lens as opposed to seeing each other as individuals with their own stories to tell that are not dependent on their skin color or their ethnicity,” a Loudoun County parent told the Post.
In July, in Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School—rated as one of the top public schools in the nation—newly elected anti-CRT members of the parent-teacher association were threatened with removal of their charter by the state’s governing PTA association. In September, chaos broke out at a Prince William County School Board Meeting when parents started shouting at each other. Cops had to clear the room.
Sparked by parent passions, CRT appears to be gaining traction with Virginia voters. A recent Emerson Poll showed that a big majority of Virginians, 86%, were familiar with the CRT debate. 47% said they would support a state ban on teaching CRT in the schools.
Youngkin, the GOP candidate, says he will ban CRT in the schools “on day one” of his administration. He has made CRT a top issue in the race and hammers McAuliffe on it at “Parents Matter” events around the state. CRT “teaches our children to view everything through a lens of race to divide our children up into buckets and then pit them against one another and steal their dreams,” Youngkin told a Parents Matter rally last week.
McAuliffe has stumbled over CRT and education. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” McAuliffe said at a September debate—a remark that immediately went viral. He dismisses concerns over CRT as “racist” and a “dog whistle.” On the campaign trail, McAuliffe’s education pitch focuses on a $2 billion proposal to raise teacher pay, improve online access, and expand preschool programs.
Judicial Watch has been a national leader in the CRT fight and we’ll be watching Virginia closely. Read more from us on the background of CRT here; on CRT in Maryland here; on CRT at West Point here; on CRT in Rhode Island here. And if you’re interested in using the Freedom of Information Act and public records requests to explore CRT in your community, this episode of JW TV will tell you everything you need to know.
Micah Morrison is chief investigative reporter for Judicial Watch. Follow him on Twitter @micah_morrison. Tips: email@example.com
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