Amie Knowles: Virginia History Standards Revised: They’re Teaching WHAT?!
Amie Knowles is an award-winning journalist who is looking at Virginia’s new history standards, and like many other folks, she has some questions.
People across the commonwealth took issue with some of the components presented in the Final Redraft of Virginia’s History and Social Science Standards for K-12.
The previous version of proposed standard changes while Gov. Ralph Northam was in office received a comprehensive review by experts including educators, historians, professors, museums, organizations, parents, teachers, and VDOE staff. The current version proposed under Youngkin’s governorship did not undergo the same checks and balances.
In a document sent to Virginia legislators and obtained and uploaded online by Sinclair-owned ABC7 News, the Youngkin administration noted: “The August 2022 draft standards were unnecessarily difficult for educators to understand and implement; they were also inaccessible for parents and families. The November 2022 revised standards are easily understood and implemented through a logical progression with a recommended grade level sequence.”
Concerned Educators of the Commonwealth put together a document listing a number of issues with the revision. Some of the concerns they raised include:
- Removing Martin Luther King, Jr. from elementary curriculum
- Referring to Native Americans as “America’s first immigrants,” despite being indigenous
- Reducing content on contributions from the Sikh and the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community
The final redraft also does not contain a mention of the LGBTQ+ community in Virginia, nor does it have any mention of Juneteenth.
Governor Youngkin apparently feels these are easier to teach and understand, and isn’t that the goal of history–to be easy to understand, even if it’s wrong, reductive, and erases the role of some Americans?
Youngkin says the new standards are not set in stone. If I were a Virginia voter, I might make a few contacts with my elected representatives.