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McAuliffe Backtracks on Parents' Involvement in Education: 'I’ve Always Valued the Concerns of Parents'

AP Photo/Steve Helber, File

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe released a new campaign advertisement where he appeared to take back comments he made in September about whether parents should have a say in their children's school curricula.

"As parents, Dorothy and I have always been involved in our kids’ education," McAuliffe said in the ad. "We know good schools depend on involved parents. That’s why I want you to hear this from me. Glenn Youngkin is taking my words out of context. I’ve always valued the concerns of parents."

"It’s why as governor we scaled back standardized testing, expanded pre-K, and invested a billion dollars in public schools," he continued.

This comes after the one-time governor said during a Sept. 28 debate that "I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." He later doubled down on his initial remarks.

McAuliffe's debate comments were in reference to the controversy surrounding critical race theory, which has prompted parents to show up to school board meetings to voice their outrage over the teaching of the doctrine. 

Critical race theory asserts that the United States is inherently racist and alleges that a person is either privileged or oppressed based on their skin color. 

McAuliffe also said in a recent CNN appearance that he would oppose "moving money" from public education to private schools. This, despite sending his own children to private Washington, D.C. schools with annual tuition of $30,000.

The Republican candidate for Virginia governor, Glenn Younkin, launched an ad last week in support of parents speaking out against school policies that they find problematic.

"Virginia parents have a right to make decisions on their children’s education. That’s the Virginia I grew up in. Terry McAuliffe wants to change that," Youngkin said in the ad. 

In the ad, he also slammed a recent memorandum from the Department of Justice that announced a "partnership among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement to address threats against school administrators, board members, teachers and staff."

A Friday poll from the Trafalgar Group shows Youngkin with a one-point lead over McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial race as the candidates prepare for election day on Nov. 2. A recent Fox News poll also has the race extremely close, but with McAuliffe leading by five percent. Both polls are within the margin of error. 

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