Just days before Virginia Republicans will choose their nominee for governor on May 8, every major candidate in the race has signed onto a pledge in which they commit to “save our schools” from anti-American indoctrination–foreshadowing how the battle against “woke” education could play a major and perhaps decisive role in the fall campaign.
The pledge, organized by a new group dedicated to fighting against left-wing radicalism in schools, 1776 Action, asks candidates to promise to restore “patriotic education” and to prevent schools from teaching concepts that divide students by race and gender, such as “Critical Race Theory.”
Not just in Virginia but in the culture war currently raging throughout the nation, K-12 classrooms have become a central battleground. As AMAC Newsline has reported, the Biden Department of Education recently released a rule that would direct federal taxpayer dollars to support teaching a radical version of American history and to promote the idea that America is a fundamentally racist country.
Shortly after taking office, President Biden rescinded President Trump’s Executive Order establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. Created in response to attacks on American history by efforts such as the New York Times’ 1619 Project, the 1776 Commission sought to “better enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding.”
Inspired by this effort, 1776 Action and others are picking up where the Trump Administration left off. They aim to push back on left-wing indoctrination at the state and local level–seeking to hold school board members, state legislators, and gubernatorial candidates accountable for brainwashing America’s youth.
1776 Action’s “Save Our Schools,” Pledge asks candidates to take “concrete steps” to “[promote] a curriculum that teaches that all children are created equal, have equal moral value under God, our Constitution and the law, and are members of a national community united by our founding principles.”
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a rising star within the Republican Party, became the first candidate to sign the Pledge earlier this week. Along with Dr. Ben Carson, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban, she penned a joint op-ed citing concerns that “there are far too many classrooms where our children and grandchildren are not learning about the positive revolution in human affairs set in motion by our Founders.”
While Governor Noem is not up for reelection until 2022, Virginia is one of three states with Governors races this year (including the California recall). It could prove to be a testing ground for how candidates talk and organize around the issue of patriotic education.
The major candidates for the Virginia Republican nomination who signed the Pledge this week include businessmen Glenn Youngkin and Pete Snyder, former Trump administration official Sergio de la Pena, former Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Kirk Cox, and state Senator Amanda Chase.
As 1776 Action President Adam Waldeck said in a statement, “It’s wonderful to know that at least one of the major parties will have a nominee on the ballot who is committed to proudly defending the legacy of great Virginians such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.”
At a campaign event earlier this year, Snyder derided “this nutty critical race theory stuff that they’re trying to get in our schools” and suggested “a 1776 Project” as an alternative to the 1619 Project. At an event last week, Youngkin similarly said that “critical race theory in our schools is actually a political agenda.” He also promised that a potential Youngkin administration would use “1776” as a model for teaching history, along with committing to installing a conservative state superintendent of schools and replacing the “entire school board of education.”
In a statement after signing the Pledge, Kirk Cox said, “our children should be taught to take pride in our nation and know that American Exceptionalism lives on despite the left’s best efforts to poison it. As Governor, I will end the use of Critical Race Theory in our schools and curriculum. We will teach the full Virginia story and the full American story, and we’ll do it in a way that brings people together, not divides us.”
As the Republican Party gears up for a must-win midterm cycle to halt the advance of Biden’s radical agenda, it seems all but certain that the issue of patriotic education will be front and center–and all eyes will be on Virginia to see what happens.
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