Republicans’ education focus remains on problems that do not exist
RICHMOND, VA – Today, Virginia House Republicans voted to advance bills that are, in effect, Virginia-wide book bans, despite the fact that there is not a single locality in Virginia that does not already have standards in place for the books provided in their public schools. House Democrats released the following statements in response:
“Instead of addressing the real issues facing our education system, MAGA Republicans are pitting parents against educators,” said Leader Don Scott, “meanwhile, our state faces staffing shortages and threats to school safety. Our classrooms should be a place of learning – not a battleground for culture wars.”
“Democrats remain focused on issues most pressing in our schools today,” said Chair Charniele Herring, “we want to spend our time in Richmond ensuring kids get a world class education by attracting the best teachers to address the teacher shortage and building a curriculum that prioritizes the fundamental skills and concepts our children need.”
“This session, House Republicans have voted down Democratic proposals to ensure we protect our children while not arbitrarily removing books solely based on the presence of LGBTQ and minority communities,” said Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg. “These pieces of MAGA extremism the House advanced today are veiled government overreach designed to undermine our local educators and librarians. Instead of banning books, Republicans should be fully funding the literacy act, adding school counselors, and focusing on other policies that lift up student literacy and academic success.”
Republicans rejected Delegate Karrie Delaney’s bill, HB 2136, which would have ensured that books were not removed from libraries solely on the basis of characters or content related to a protected class including race, sexuality, and religion, among others. They also rejected it on the floor as an amendment to HB 1448 when brought by Delegate Marcus Simon. Democrats have proposed numerous pieces of legislation this session aimed at protecting our children (HB1560 and HB2388) and improving standards of learning (HB1851 and HB2111), some of which weren’t even allowed to pass out of Republican-led subcommittees.