Senate Ed Subcommittee debates “Divisive Concepts” Bill; GOP Kills Ability of Voters to Fund School Construction
February 25, 2022
February 25, 2022
On Thursday, the Senate Education Subcommittee drilled deeper into Delegate David LaRock’s “Decisive Concepts” Bill, HB787, ultimately recommending to Pass By the Bill Indefinitely. This bill would declare it an unlawful and discriminatory practice for any local school board or employee or contractor thereof to teach any public elementary or secondary school student to believe or promote to any such student as valid the belief that (i) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (ii) an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (iii) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex; (iv) an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex; or (v) an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex, but permits any local school board or employee or contractor thereof to teach to any public elementary or secondary school student content that includes the past or present belief, by any individual or group, in any such concept.
Their motive behind this bill is clear: they are pushing these bills and proposals to cover up for their failures and now they want teachers to push incomplete and inaccurate lessons about our history to students.
In addition to continuing to undermine our children’s public education and public schools, now they are trying to keep teachers from teaching students about our full history and shared stories of confronting injustice to build a more perfect union.
This manufactured outrage depicted in HB787 is designed for one purpose – to divide our communities along racial lines for political purposes. We have seen this play out recently with other propaganda being perpetrated by Governor Youngkin’s “Snitch Line” and Executive Order 1. These draconian actions have resulted in educators being targeted, harassed, and intimidated simply for doing their jobs and teaching our full history.
We want all our students to have a well-rounded education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right.
A recent poll conducted by the Wason Center found that Virginians support teaching how racism continues to impact American society (63% to 33%) and oppose a ban on the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools (57% to 35%).
This shows that parents trust their teachers to make school and learning decisions to make sure students can thrive in the future. To prepare children for the future, we need to teach them both the good and the bad of our history so that they better understand the lives, cultures, and experiences of different people.
We need to teach students both the good and the bad of our history so that they better understand the lives, cultures, and experiences of different people. We must continue to tell the honest and accurate truth about our country’s past and present – without censoring unflattering elements – in order to prepare our kids for a better future.
Educators must continue to ensure their students learn the honest and accurate history of our country so that they have the skills needed to better understand problems in our society and develop collective solutions to those problems.
Advocates packed the House Finance Subcommittee #3 meeting early Friday morning to testify on three bills dealing with school construction. The three bills (SB37, SB298, SB472) would have given localities the opportunity to run a voter referendum to levy up to a 1% sales tax for local school construction. Despite heartfelt testimonies from around the state, including mayors, representatives of large education groups and coalitions, and a student attending a school with leaking ceilings, committee Republicans all voted against the bills and killed each one. There was no public opposition to the bills.
These bills represented one of the key recommendations from Virginia’s bipartisan Commission on School Construction and Modernization. The two lawmakers on the committee who were willing to speak against the bills noted that one of their in-laws avoided buying things in counties with an extra 1% sales tax and the other lawmaker noted that teacher wages would be diminished if they, like everyone else, had to pay a 1% extra sales tax to fund school modernization. This vote is a setback for fixing our deteriorating school infrastructure in the state since many localities are at their property tax limit and have no other options to raise additional revenue to fix their schools.
The responsibility to make progress on school infrastructure now falls entirely to the state this legislative session, and the VEA will be working over the coming weeks to win a major new investment in the final state budget.
Watch the full committee hearing on these bills, HERE.