NORFOLK, Va. — Thursday afternoon, the Virginia Commission on Civic Education publicly criticized the Virginia Board of Education and its process in adopting newly-updated history Standards of Learning.
In the letter, the commission calls to question the "continued delay, lack of transparency and seemingly political motivations" over a process that's seen months of public backlash and criticism.
At the board's November meeting, hours of public comments demonstrated frustration over the most recent drafted set of history standards, which speakers said omitted critical pieces of race and world history from elementary school education in the outline.
Many speakers spoke against the notion that indigenous people had been referred to as "first immigrants," which Superintendent Jillian Balow later apologized for.
"It's really dangerous to offer standards that no one has confidence in," one commission member said Wednesday.
The November meeting filled with overwhelmingly negative comments came months after the board did not adopt an already-completed document in August -- a document started under former Gov. Ralph Northam's administration, which included both standards and the expanded curriculum frameworks from Kindergarten through 12th grades.
Commission members Wednesday criticized the disparity in time that was invested into the August draft versus the November draft.
“That would be 24 months versus at top four months, and dozens of public meetings and thousands comments to zero," Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg said.
Del. VanValkenburg added dissatisfaction over the stakeholders who drafted the November document as well.
“Put out the November standards and after they put out the nine groups that helped shape these standards. All out of state, all ideologically right-wing," he said.
In the same letter, the commission endorsed an alternate draft of the history standards completed by three Virginia history and education organizations.
The alternate draft combines elements from both August and November versions, which the commission now hopes will be the starting point for the Board of Education come its next meeting this February.
Below is a copy of the entire combined draft, sent to 13News Now:
A special meeting may also be called in January to review the standards.