A statewide curriculum revision could remove reference to George Washington as being the founding father in Virginia schools.
The way in which American history is presented and taught in schools is a major debate across the country. Some want to see less of a focus on America’s racial ties, and more cornerstone discussions on the history of the founding fathers and pride in the nation. Because of that divide, the Virginia state Department of Education is turning heads and gaining national attention for its proposal to nix citing George Washington as a Founding Father.
WJLA first reported on this finding Monday, August 15th. According to obtained documents, the proposed changes were part of the state’s curriculum reviews that occur every seven years. One proposed amendment sought to remove language on state testing that referred to George Washington as the “Father of our Country” and James Madison as the “Father of the Constitution.” This revision, presented to the mixed-partisan state board was heavily ridiculed by the state’s governor.
Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glen Younkin spoke of the controversial proposal against George Washington yesterday in a phone interview with Fox News Digital. Berating the decision to even suggest that the language be removed in a school setting, he asserted that history should be taught “accurately, the good and the bad.” Youngkin is likely insinuating a growing stigma calling for the removal of praise for historic figures who now are well known to have benefited from slavery in America.
George Washington himself had a complex history with slavery. Through the decades, he has been documented as having a change of heart on the matter, eventually freeing the hundreds of slaves he owned after he passed in his will. But over the past few years, statues of the first president have been toppled by activists calling for racial justice. Some schools have even changed their name severing ties with Washington.
But while many can agree that slavery in America was cruel and unjust, not everyone agrees with canceling a major portion of the nation’s history just because of it. To this, Younkin confirmed that he would make sure his administration supported making sure the history of the nation, including George Washington, would be upheld in the state’s curriculums and tests. He noted that students in the state would learn history “accurately and completely.”
It now appears that the governor won’t have to work hard to make sure that the state’s Education Department rejects the plan to nix George Washington and his lofty title from school tests. Since procuring national attention, representatives for the state board have announced that the proposals were an “inadvertent” error. Today, the department of education is set to discuss all proposed curriculum revisions in a meeting, where it sounds like the removal of the Founding Father language will be nixed.
While many feel that politics is driving the wedge between how public schools should be run, Youngkin said it wasn’t an issue between Republicans and Democrats. Instead, he said it was a parental rights issue, asserting that he is fighting to make sure they are given the opportunities to be the driving voice in their children’s education. Because of this notion, the governor looks to make sure that political agendas wishing to remove historical figures like George Washington from school settings never make their way into the state’s education practices.