Voters care about education, and Republicans like Glenn Youngkin won’t deliver
Earlier this month, the Democrats lost unified control of the Virginia state government to Glenn Youngkin, a sweet-mannered, waistcoat-clad Republican who loves talk about schools. Before the elections, education was regularly class like one of the most important issues for voters in Virginia. The Youngkin campaign approached education by consistently denouncing critical race theory, which some, including Terry McAuliffe, called “racist dog whistle. “Critical race theory, however, is not to be taught in Virginia. Or any other public school. And in other policy areas related to education and children, McAuliffe and his fellow Democrats have specific plans and top records.
Take a look at Glenn Youngkin’s educational platform. Before his victory, his campaign website had a page titled “Restoring excellence in educationâ- it has since been deleted. The section consisted of seven sentences. One of them reiterated Youngkin’s desire to ban critical race theory, which, again, is not taught in Virginia schools. Others included keeping schools open five days a week as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, preparing students for college, expanding charter schools, and increasing funding for special education and teachers. Schools in Virginia are legally required to offer in-person instruction, according to a law adopted by the Democratic state government last summer. Preparing students for college is an admittedly lofty (albeit vague) goal, and it is facilitated by the easy access to community college provided by the “Get skills, get a job, give backâProgram adopted by the Democratic-controlled state government last year. This program makes community college free for middle-income students looking to work in high-demand jobs. And, of course, funding for schools is increasing, which McAuliffe also has supports and did so when he was governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. Youngkin’s education plans, when not devoid of detail, address issues that McAuliffe and the Virginia Democrats have been working on for years. .
Youngkin’s larger plan, found in a press release which has since been removed from its website, was slightly less vague. It included another point on critical race theory, as well as more vague goals, such as “equipping our students to be the top performing students in the country.” Notably, neither his press release nor his campaign website indicates how he intends to achieve any of these goals. Youngkin’s more specific points concern school accreditation standards, something McAuliffe adjusted as governor to do not focus on standardized testing. McAuliffe’s actions were bipartisan and stemmed from opposition to standardized high-stakes testing by groups of teachers and parents. Youngkin’s plan also includes a pledge to “ensure that schools are never closed unnecessarily for long periods of time again,” presumably a reference to school closures last year, which were needed to fight COVID-19. Beyond once again offering vague goals, Youngkin’s comprehensive education platform focuses solely on criticizing the files of McAuliffe and incumbent Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, even when their files consist of action. bipartite or life-saving pandemic responses.
McAuliffe’s educational platform, found in six-page document bound on its campaign website, emphasizes not only its past work on education and problems needing solution, but on real solutions. McAuliffe planned to address teacher shortages, which plagues Ann Arbor as well as Virginia, by increasing teachers’ salaries above the national average. He planned to include 3-year-olds in Virginia’s subsidized pre-K program. He planned to expand existing workforce training programs to allow Virginia students to enter the workforce immediately after graduating from high school. In addressing race, McAuliffe argued for not teaching a critical theory of race, but for better integrating schools and addressing funding gaps associated with majority minority schools. McAuliffe identifies real problems and suggests reasonable ways to resolve them.
Above all, McAuliffe is not alone in supporting effective education plans. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a $ 17.1 billion education budget plan last summer. This contents provisions to close funding gaps between Michigan schools; as well as an expansion of state preschool programs. Governor of California Gavin Newsom sign a $ 123.9 billion educational program aimed at increasing the presence of schools in communities and strengthening special education programs, as well as expanding access to preschool education. Democrats don’t just campaign on education policies, they actively pass laws to strengthen schools.
Democrats’ education efforts do not stop at the state level. The Rebuild Better bill being negotiated between Congressional Democrats, pre-K universal funds, something McAuliffe, Whitmer and Newsom have included in their proposals. The infrastructure bill passed earlier this month invest millions by increasing internet access, something crucial for education even with in-person classes and which less wealthy communities often lack. The US bailout adopted earlier this year billions invested directly to local school districts. Once again, it is the Democrats who are taking action to give schools the resources they need. Additionally, if children are the topic of conversation, questions beyond education are relevant. The The agenda of rebuilding better invests heavily in the fight against climate change, seeks to directly reduce child poverty through the expanded child tax credit and plans to improve access to quality child care.
Notably, the term “critical theory of race” appears in only one of these policy proposals: that of Glenn Youngkin. The critical racial theory argument at the center of not only the Virginia election, but the national education discourse as well, is an effective distraction from substantive Democratic proposals. For Republicans, this distraction is a necessary political tactic because it is the Democrats who have the record, the vision and the desire to fight for the schools, not them. Youngkin’s plans, when not focused on critical race theory, set ill-defined goals or address issues Democrats have already addressed or have policies in place to address in the future. Democrats at the federal and state levels have and want to continue to take concrete steps to improve the quality of education. The problem of voters failing to recognize Democratic efforts in education is a messaging, rooted in unclear campaign strategies and political advocacy. However, Democrats can improve themselves by campaigning on simple and popular ideas, like pre-K universal. With the critical breed theory that will probably remain a important problem On the eve of the 2022 midterm elections, it is crucial to highlight all areas of an issue as important as education, especially when the right answers to many of them are dominated by the liberal policy.
Quin Zapoli is an opinion columnist and can be contacted at [email protected]