The Virginia State Conference NAACP (Virginia NAACP) will continue to protest the Virginia History and Social Studies Standards of Learning revision process until the information presented within the final draft is both historically accurate and racially equitable. The January 2023 draft–clearly steeped in political agenda–is a further attempt to “whitewash” American history, win turn-turn discriminates against Black students and is both anti-intellectual and un-democratic.
The Virginia NAACP demands the Virginia Board of Education reject the January 2023 version of the Standards presented by former Superintendent of Education Jillian Balow, who resigned on March 1st, and re-consider the August 2022 version of the standards that is far more equitable. The Virginia Board of Education accepted the January 2023 SOL revision after the Virginia Social Studies Leaders Consortium (VSSLC), the Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (VASCD), and the American Historical Association (AHA) released the “Proposed Combined History and Social Studies Standards” that combines the August 2022 and November 2022 iterations, and that the Virginia NAACP supports. Additionally, we implore Governor Youngkin to appoint a new Superintendent who adopts History and Social Studies Standards that reflect and include the expertise of Virginia educators, scholars, and citizens who value historical accuracy, have a sound understanding of to combine scholarship with pedagogy effectively, and will not be used as pawns to propel a political agenda committed to reifying the myth of American exceptionalism and eliminating Black history from school curriculum. We appreciate the opportunity for concerned citizens to participate in statewide hearings and we encourage our membership to have their voices heard.
We ask that your local branches take the following action steps:
- Before March 21, 2023, provide written, public comment on the History and Social Studies Standards on the VDOE website found here.
- Participate in one of the six public hearingsheld throughout Virginia between March 13-March 21 hosted by the Virginia Department of Education. These hearings begin at 7:00 p.m. and speakers can begin to register to speak by 6:30 p.m. Speakers will have three minutes to speak and should bring copies of their comments for the Board of Education. The public hearings will be held at the following locations:
- Monday, March 13, 2023
2110 Jamestown Rd, Williamsburg
- Tuesday, March 14, 2023
George Washington’s Mount Vernon: Rubenstein Leadership Hall at the Library
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon
- Wednesday, March 15, 2023
501 College Drive, Charlottesville
- Thursday, March 16, 2023
101 Shenandoah Ave NE, Roanoke
- Monday, March 20, 2023
1 Partnership Circle, Abingdon
- Tuesday, March 21, 2023
900 Griffin Blvd, Farmville
- Monday, March 13, 2023
- If you plan to attend, complete this google formso that the Virginia NAACP can stay in touch with important information.
- Review the summarypublished by the American Historical Association, an organization also dedicated to pushing back against ahistorical presentations and interpretations in K-12 education and Kimberlee Crenshaw on The Reid Out and Democracy Now. This discussion helps to contextualize current efforts to erase Black history.
The Virginia NAACP is committed to promoting excellent, equitable, diverse, honest school curricula and cultures throughout our great Commonwealth. We are watching closely how this History and Social Studies curriculum revision process transpires. We continue to support local branches and others who are fighting for inclusion for ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ students and are dealing with the backlash that runs rampant in locals galvanized by cries of leadership to silence very important equity work. Inspired by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the Virginia NAACP rejects any policy that protects the erasure of Black life and history from school curricula because, as Dr. Carter G. Woodson, historian and son of Virginia said, “If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” We will not support the erasure of Black history in this Commonwealth—which is dishonest teaching–and hope that other fair-minded Virginians stand with us.
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