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Tipsheet

Youngkin Slams VA Dems for Blocking Bill Requiring Schools to Promptly Inform Families of Academic Honors

AP Photo/Steve Helber

Virginia Democrats ran an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 2021 that was openly contemptuous toward parental rights in education.  Gov. Glenn Youngkin and his ticket beat the issue like a drum, then beat the Democrats like a drum.  Their sneering dismissal of corruption in some school districts at the time has aged very poorly.  After Youngkin won, Democrats in the state legislature once again signaled their ongoing hostility to parents' central role in the education of their children, sitting on their hands as Youngkin touted its importance.  Following revelations that more than a dozen high schools in Northern Virginia delayed informing families of prestigious academic honors students had earned -- allegedly out of 'equity' concerns, and impacting the college admissions process -- the Youngkin administration has launched an expanding investigation into the scandal.  

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On a separate track, Youngkin has pushed new legislation that would legally require schools to promptly notify families and students of such things in the future.  Democrats narrowly control the state Senate, and they've decided they're against this commonsense measure.  They couldn't be much clearer about whose side they take in the education wars.  They're with unions and bureaucrats over parents and kids:

On Thursday, the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee blocked Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s bill that would have required schools to notify students and their parents if they won national merit awards and recognition along with other college scholarship opportunities. 7News has been covering this as a part of our Crisis in the Classroom coverage. The bill was introduced after several Virginia schools didn’t notify students of their national merit recognition in time for important college and scholarship deadlines. Republicans and one Democrat, Senator Jeremy McPike, on the committee voted to advance the bill, but the Virginia Senate Democrat majority ultimately blocked the bill from going forward.

Youngkin's reaction:

“I don't understand how anybody could object to the idea that when a student receives an award or an accolade that they are informed about it, and that this is just a matter of common sense...And I do believe that our General Assembly eventually will come around to common sense. And if politics are in the way here, then I would just ask our Senate Democrats to put down politics and do what's right for Virginia's kids.
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Many politicians wrap their various proposals in the verbiage of being "for the children," which was a Nancy Pelosi special for years, but this bill actually fits that description quite literally. Democrats killed it in committee.  What a look.  By the way, more evidence is emerging that bureaucrats' preposterous "one-time human error" excuse for the withheld accolades (spanning at least 17 high schools across multiple counties, most prominently the one that has adopted an "equal outcomes for all students" mantra) is a lie:

In late December 2022, Fairfax County Public Schools told 7News “the delay in notifying National Merit Scholarship commended students was a one-time human error in the fall of 2022 only.” But is that really the case? It appears that Fairfax County Public Schools claim – that this only happened in the fall of 2022 – is not true. 7News found at least one delay happened before.  7News submitted an open records request and obtained emails that show a parent in 2020 telling administrators at a Fairfax County high school that their student didn’t receive notification from the school of their student’s national merit recognition. In November 2020, a parent emailed administrators at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) and said “we were never notified and did not receive a letter.”

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This evidently wasn't a "one-time," or even a one-year, "error." One wonders how long this has been going on, and how many students may have been victimized by these mistakes/intentional decisions.  For his part, Youngkin comes to this controversy occupying the both moral high ground and the political high ground.  These are eyebrow-raising numbers for a conservative (not just Republican) governor leading a state that has trended much bluer over the last few decades:


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