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Will Glenn Youngkin Ban ‘Abolitionist Teaching’ and Require ‘Opposing’ View on Holocaust?

Glenn Youngkin has had a lot of fun on the campaign trail bashing “critical race theory” – which conveniently just happens to mean whatever is bothering local Republicans wherever he happens to be. Far fewer discussions have been had on what Virginia schools would be teaching if Youngkin gets into the Governor’s mansion. We do have analogous examples from his fellow education culture warriors – and it’s not good.

In Wisconsin, Republicans in control of the legislature have put forth a ban on CRT being taught to students or to teachers (The Hill [1]), much in line with Youngkin’s promises. In this case, however, the bill sponsor was kind enough to provide “addendum to his legislation that included a list of ‘terms and concepts’ that would violate the bill if it became law.”

Among those words: “Woke,” “whiteness,” “White supremacy,” “structural bias,” “structural racism,” “systemic bias” and “systemic racism.” The bill would also bar “abolitionist teaching,” in a state that sent more than 91,000 soldiers to fight with the Union Army in the Civil War.

The list of barred words or concepts includes “equity,” “inclusivity education,” “multiculturalism” and “patriarchy,” as well as “social justice” and “cultural awareness.”

So I guess no one in Virginia would be able to learn about John Minor Botts or General George Thomas anymore.

As if that weren’t bad enough, a school district in Texas provided an even more harrowing example of what Youngkin might have in mind (NPR [2]).

A Texas school district has once again become the center of controversy after an administrator reportedly instructed teachers to provide students with “opposing” views of the Holocaust.

Gina Peddy, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, is alleged to have made the comments during a meeting last Friday, according to NBC News [3], which obtained audio of the meeting from an unnamed employee. Peddy was reportedly meeting with teachers to instruct them on how to stock their classroom libraries when the subject of recent statewide legislation, as well as the Holocaust, came up.

“Just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979,” Peddy could be heard saying on tape, according to NBC News. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.”

House Bill 3979 [4], which went into effect last month, mandates, among other things, that if public school teachers choose to discuss current events or widely debated or controversial public policy or social issues, they should present numerous points of view “without giving deference to any one perspective.”

A teacher at the meeting asked, “How do you oppose the Holocaust?” Peddy responded, “Believe me. That’s come up,” according to NBC News.

Of course, Youngkin is sure to insist that Holocaust denial or revision is not on his To Do list. However, local school systems (including that one in Texas) can interpret state laws in … unusual ways.

More to the point, the Wisconsin “addendum” is far more likely to be part of the Youngkin-Chase-Gorka [5] plan for Virginia schools. So now we have to ask: will Youngkin ban “whiteness,” “cultural awareness,” and “abolitionist teaching” from being taught – or even mentioned – in schools in the Commonwealth.

Do we really want to find out?