VEA Statement on the resignation of Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow
March 1, 2023
March 1, 2023
The following statement can be attributed to Dr. James J. Fedderman, President of the Virginia Education Association:
The resignation of Superintendent Balow is not unexpected. Her tenure has been marred by a series of scandals, poor judgment, and overall inexperience. In the wake of her departure, the Department of Education and school divisions across the state will be left to clean up the numerous unresolved messes that have been created by her mishandling of the revised history standards, the anti-transgender model policies, the removal of equity resources despite teachers and administrators being evaluated on cultural competency, and the yet-to-be-resolved calculation error that has left a gaping $201 million hole in school divisions’ budgets statewide.
Specifically on the issue of the revised history standards, which are now more than eight months behind schedule, we sincerely hope the Youngkin administration does not use the departure of Superintendent Balow as an excuse to further delay resolution. It is critical that these standards be finalized so that educators and curriculum planners have adequate time to include the new standards in lesson preparation. Students deserve a high quality history curriculum and that can’t happen if the Youngkin administration uses every opportunity to kick the can down the road with new excuses for delays. There is ample time to review public feedback and be prepared to vote on finalization at the April meeting of the Virginia Board of Education.
Despite all of the problems left in Superintendent Balow’s wake, VEA calls on Governor Youngkin to take this opportunity to appoint a new superintendent who has a mix of leadership knowledge, policy expertise, deep background in our state K-12 funding formula, and real-world classroom experience. As always, VEA stands ready to offer our recommendations and expertise to Governor Youngkin on this important appointment. While many mistakes have been made, this is the time to look ahead and do what is right for all of Virginia’s students.