During late night session, House Democrats introduce 10 floor amendments that would have protected the teaching of important history from attack under the ambiguous label of “divisive concepts”
RICHMOND, VA – Last night, House Republicans voted to kill nearly a dozen floor amendments to HB 787 offered by Delegates Schuyler VanValkenburg, Dan Helmer, Clint Jenkins, Kathy Tran, Don Scott, and Sally Hudson. The amendments would have ensured educators can teach students important and valuable lessons from United States history without the fear of political backlash. The bill’s patron defended the legislation saying it would “prevent teachers from taking sides” on issues like the Lost Cause of the Confederacy and the Three-Fifths Compromise. At the end of a full day of voting, Republicans rejected protections for the accurate, historical teaching of:
- The Lost Cause of the Confederacy, a narrative that promotes the morality and heroism of the Confederacy and the institution of slavery and included the erecting of many Confederate Statues to celebrate that movement throughout southern states such as Virginia.
- The U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 2015 Supreme Court case that guaranteed the Constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry.
- Delegate Hudson: Policies that created and sustain wealth and income gaps by race and gender in the United States.
- The Three-Fifths Compromise, which regarded enslaved people as three-fifths of a human.
- Disparate health and economic impacts of the COVID pandemic on people of color.
- The role of the death of Vincent Chin in exposing discrimination and hatred against Asian Americans and galvanizing the Asian American movement.
- The demographics of American local, state, and federal governments, including how only one of 50 states has a legislature in which over half the seats are held by women.
- Supreme Court precedents and arguments.
- Jim Crow and Jim Crow legislation laws and practices, some of which remained in Virginia code until the 21st Century, that enforced racial segregation in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War through the middle of the 20th Century.
- Ruby Bridges, who as a six-year-old in Louisiana, became the first Black student to integrate an all-white school in the South.
“Governor Youngkin and Virginia Republicans have spent the past month injecting their politics into Virginia’s classrooms and pitting citizens against one another at the expense of our children’s education. The amendments our House Democratic Caucus proposed would ensure that the complete and accurate teaching of American history is protected from political censorship,” said Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn. “As stories about book bans and even book burnings continue to surface, we must be vigilant in our fight to protect Virginia’s well-earned reputation for providing a world class public education.”
“We can’t just rewrite or ignore the difficult parts of our history, and studying all of American History allows students to examine our shortcomings in order to create that more perfect union,” said Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “Last night Democrats tried to protect some of these moments in our history and, once again, House Republicans showed us what they value when they voted to pass the amendments by.”
House Republicans wielded their narrow majority to kill each of these amendments on a vote of 50-47 last night.
Today, HB 787 passed the House on a narrow 50-49 vote.