Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin Signs Order Banning Critical Race Theory
In SummaryDespite signing an executive order to combat antisemitism in the state, Youngkin signed another banning critical race theory because it is "inherently divisive."
The attack on critical race theory in American schools continues, and Virginia is the latest state to take action against the field of study.
On Jan. 15, 2022, Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as the new governor of the state of Virginia, bringing a Republican to the office after several years under Democratic leadership.
According to The Hill, on his first day in the role, Youngkin signed 11 executive orders, including a ban on the teaching of critical race theory and another lifting mask mandates in public schools. “Governor Glenn Youngkin today signed nine Executive Orders and two Executive Directives at the Virginia State Capitol, acting on several of his Day One promises to Virginians,” a release from Youngkin’s office said.
In the document for Executive Order Number One, it said the bill is meant “to ensure excellence in K-12 public education in the Commonwealth by taking the first step on Day One to end the use of inherently divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, and to raise academic standards.”
Youngkin’s administration aims to teach students “how to think for themselves” and renew educators’ commitment to teaching children freedom of thought and diversity of ideas.
“Political indoctrination has no place in our classrooms. The vast majority of learning in our schools involves imparting critical knowledge and skills in math, science, history, reading and other areas that should be non-controversial,” the Executive Order said. “Inherently divisive concepts, like Critical Race Theory and its progeny, instruct students to only view life through the lens of race and presumes that some students are consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist, or oppressive, and, that other students are victims. This denies our students the opportunity to gain important facts, core knowledge, formulate their own opinions, and to think for themselves. Our children deserve far better from their education than to be told what to think.”
Critical race theory is “an academic and legal framework that denotes that systemic racism is part of American society–from education and housing to employment and healthcare,” according to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Although critical race theory is not often taught in public schools, because of its graduate-level nature, numerous Republican-led states have banned its teaching or lessons on racism in the classrooms.
Other Executive Orders signed by Youngkin impact the state’s parole board, reopen the state for business, establish a commission to combat antisemitism and withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.