Glenn Youngkin requests a review of AP African American Studies; leading Virginia into dangerous conservative territory

Olivia Guy, Editor-in-chief

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, a so-called “goldilocks” of the Republican party has been in office a little over a year and has successfully led Virginia into conservative territory that is a little too extreme in temperature to swallow.  

Considering Youngkin’s past actions toward minority communities, including his model policies regarding transgender students in the Virginia Department of Education, Youngkin’s push for stricter abortion laws, and his exceptionally vocal disapproval of Biden’s decision to extend the immigration program referred to as Title 42, it’s no surprise that a major aspect of his campaign concerning the banning of critical race theory in public schools now comes to head with College Board’s most recent AP class addition: AP African American Studies. 

While Youngkin campaigns as a moderate-leaning Republican, it’s painfully obvious that his actions aren’t reflective of this sentiment. Most recently, appearing to follow in Florida Republican Governor Ron Desantis’ footsteps, Youngkin requested the Virginia Education Secretariat to review the course curriculum, on the grounds that the course content opposes Executive Order 1, Youngkin’s executive restricting “inherently divisive concepts” and critical race theory. In short, essentially aiming to sugarcoat America’s grim and cruel history pertaining to the treatment of Black Americans, and other minority communities. 

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of “The 1619 Project ”, a long-form journalism project developed alongside The New York Times, says it best in a press release explaining that Youngkin aims to provide a “sanitized” history.

Due to DeSantis’ initial criticism earlier this month, College Board adjusted the course’s content that particularly angered conservatives. The most updated curriculum does not include aspects of the original course such as Black queer studies, Intersectionality and activism, The reparations movement, and Black scholars associated with critical race theory.  However, these alterations remove key material, originally designed to include significant aspects of Black history.

A persistent effort continues to develop from the conservative community, aiming to ban culturally and historically significant history and literature that ultimately shaped the U.S.

David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, expressed this belief in an article stating “You cannot teach Black history while erasing members of our community and the contributions made to our community and this country.” 

Material shifted from required to optional include Black Lives Matter: Origins, impacts, critics and Reparations debates in the U.S./the Americas. However, despite these immense changes, Republicans including Glenn Youngkin continue to remain skeptical. Yet again, proving that truth and equity are at the bottom of Republican concerns.  

This delusion only seems to grow, with DeSantis’ calling a certified AP class’s content “fictional.” It’s comical that a sugar-coated history is deemed history, but an unfiltered history account is considered fictional. 

What many don’t seem to understand is that history is a well-rounded, multi-perspectival subject that deserves to be examined, including complex issues. 

While it’s not easy for many to hear, much like present-day America, the U.S. has always lacked equity and has been afflicted with injustices. So with Youngkin’s administration claiming courses like these have “no educational value,” it suggests a deeper problem in the future of Virginia’s government. 

Virginia NAACP Education Chair Dr. Amy Tillerson-Brown stated that Youngkin’s actions contradict “his desire to teach a full and accurate history to students” in Virginia.

Instead of focusing on censoring education in the classroom, maybe Youngkin should be more concerned with Virignia’s ranking of #24 in gun violence in the U.S., or perhaps the fact that Virignia’s government is so divided that Virginia’s General Assembly failed to establish a 2023 budget deal in their 2023 session. 

Youngkin’s recent actions concerning education in Virginia contributes to his popularity in the Republican party and only adds to his support as a prospective 2024 presidential candidate. 

However, in my eyes, Youngkin provides a perfectly disastrous formula for the future of the government. 

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