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State education groups pan Younkgin order, tip line in joint statement

Gov. Glenn Youngkin should shut down the tip line created last month and rescind Executive Order 1, state education groups said in a joint statement issued Thursday.

The executive order, which banned the teaching of what Youngkin called inherently divisive concepts and directed state officials to review changes to state standards made in the last four years, was signed on Youngkin’s first day in office.

Following the executive order, the Youngkin administration set up an email address, helpeducation@governor.virginia.gov, to hear from parents about issues in their children’s schools.

In response to a records request from The Daily Progress and other news organizations, the Youngkin administration denied access to emails sent to that address, citing an exemption in state code.

On Thursday, the education-related organizations said the teacher-hotline is unnecessary and divisive.

“Encouraging the community to report teachers, principals and other school staff on a tip line is divisive, unnecessary, and can be used to interrupt instruction and cause harm to educators,” they wrote.

The groups also defended current curricula in schools.

“Existing state curriculum has been carefully vetted by the community in a thoughtful and inclusive process,” they wrote. “It already meets the executive order’s definition of non-divisive. No existing Standard of Learning is intended to teach children that one race is superior or inferior to another. Recognizing difficult moments in our nation’s past is not, in itself, divisive. Restricting age-appropriate and factually accurate discussion led by well-trained teachers is divisive.”

The Virginia Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Virginia Counselors Association, Virginia Education Association, Virginia Parent Teacher Association, and Virginia Professors and Educational Leadership all signed onto the joint statement.

The American Federation of Teachers Virginia said on Twitter that it was not invited to be part of the letter, but it stands against the tip line, “and we recognize the devastating impact it has on our educators’ ability to do their jobs.”

The rest of the statement highlighted how the system of public education works in Virginia and the ways in which school divisions, students, parents and teachers work together as well as existing policies and procedures for parent involvement.

“We call on the governor and all policymakers to refocus on nurturing and supporting the collaborative partnerships between parents and schools that have always been a hallmark of student success in Virginia,” the groups wrote.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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