VEA Statement on Final History Standards
April 20, 2023
April 20, 2023
The following can be attributed to Dr. James J. Fedderman, President of the Virginia Education Association:
I am very disappointed that the board chose to ignore the educators, parents and community leaders of Virginia who were almost unanimous in their opposition to these standards. And while it is significantly improved from the version presented last year, it is still a deeply flawed – and frankly, embarrassing – set of standards.
However, if the Board is set on adopting these standards, then I encourage the implementation of these standards as quickly as possible. Teachers and their classrooms are not blank slates where you can just add infinite new responsibilities and learning standards and expect the same level of rigor. Curriculum planners need time to incorporate these new requirements, textbook publishers need to significantly revise copy, administrators need to study and understand the changes so they can assist their teachers, and classroom educators need to adapt their lesson plans accordingly.
Whether we’re Black or white, Latino or Asian, Native or newcomer, we all want our kids to have an education that encourages them to dig deeper into who we are, where we came from and what we’re capable of being. And as educators, we know that our children must have the tools and guidance to honestly face and understand our past and present in order to create a better future. And while these standards are far from perfect, they are a starting place.
On a personal note, I would like to express how deeply disappointed I am in the final results of this process. As a Black man, as an educator, and as a parent, I believe these standards fail at every level. And while you can try to whitewash history, I promise you will not ultimately succeed. Our students are too smart, and our teachers are too observant. They are onto you. They are paying attention. And they will be there long after you this Board’s actions are little more than an unpleasant memory.
VEA is committed to working with educators, parents, and community leaders to ensure the implementation of these new standards do not completely upend the education we provide to students, who must remain our focus.
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