by James A. Bacon
That didn’t take long. On Friday, the Youngkin administration issued its report detailing the perilous condition of Virginia’s public schools. Today the progressive educational establishment struck back, thoroughly rejecting the administration’s claims that educational performance is heading in the wrong direction.
The most forceful denunciations are found in The Washington Post, which not only quoted numerous critics of the report, but joined in the fray with its own “analysis” suggesting that Team Youngkin’s “use of data is misleading.”
Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said in a statement: “To accuse Virginia’s education system of failure is an outright lie, supported by cherry-picked data and warped perspective.”
The Virginia Education Association, a teachers union, called the report “biased” and designed to “get the public to want school choice measures like vouchers.” The association shared a video of [Secretary of Education Aimee] Guidera speaking at an April panel hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, in which she promised to publish data on students’ poor academic performance to “hopefully … have those conversations about expanding choices outside the public system.”
The superintendent of Alexandria City Public Schools, Gregory C. Hutchings Jr., said the report inspired him to navigate to the NAEP website, where he discovered that Virginia students had consistently scored above the national average. “So I’m not really understanding the whole premise of this report,” he said, which “was around us performing so much lower than everyone else.”
The Virginia Mercury
(in a more balanced account than the Post
) also quoted the Virginia Association of School Superintendents as accusing Youngkin of presenting an “inaccurate assessment of Virginia’s public education system currently and historically.” “Again, by most measures, Virginia ranks near the top and surpasses most states throughout the country,” the superintendents’ organization wrote in the March 10 letter. On Thursday, the VASS said it was in the process of reviewing Youngkin’s new report.
If you’re looking for serious vituperation, turn to Blue Virginia
, mouthpiece for the unrestrained Democratic Party id, which found the report to be “disgusting and dishonest as usual from the Youngkin administration, which continues to wage war on public education in Virginia.”
Blue Virginia also quotes state Senator Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth: “This misguided effort based on fake news and debunked theories is an outright attack from the far right, riling up racist constituencies with lies and deceit. This report shows once again that Governor Youngkin wants to take us back to the days of Jim Crow.”
Ah, the old back-to-Jim-Crow gambit.