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Virginia NAACP criticizes Youngkin administration's report on 'divisive concepts' in public schools

The Virginia Department of Education is removing internal policies identified by the state’s top education official as “promoting discriminatory concepts.”

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's administration is drawing criticism for its decision to toss out public school policies that it considers too "divisive."

On Friday, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow released an interim report rescinding internal policies and memos that “promote discriminatory and divisive concepts” in Virginia schools.

In response, the Virginia NAACP criticized Balow for "erroneously characterizing truth as divisive and outlawing previous efforts to bring about racial equity," describing the report as "war on teaching accurate American history."

RELATED: Youngkin administration updates efforts to remove 'divisive concepts' from public education

Robert Barnette, the Virginia NAACP president, said Virginia students have the right to an education that is accurate and without censorship.

“Education is under attack right now,” Barnette said. “History is history. That’s what happened. We should be able to tell the truth, however it might come out.”

The report describes all of the resources on EdEquity VA’s website as “divisive.” The page had suggested reading for teachers, including titles like “Courageous Conversations About Race.”

Virginia’s Road Map to Equity, developed under former Gov. Ralph Northam, is also on the chopping block, along with an internal “equity audit tool” that encouraged schools to mitigate bias and encourage representation.

“We were disappointed that the administration took that point of view,” Barnette said. “If you’re going to define divisive by the analogy that they are using, everything is divisive.”

RELATED: Critical Race Theory: What's the truth and why are we talking about this now?

On his first day in office, Youngkin tasked Balow with identifying “inherently divisive concepts” within Virginia Schools. Youngkin has previously pointed to Critical Race Theory as an example of a divisive practice, but CRT is not taught in Virginia public schools.

The report did not list any classroom content or specific programs in local school divisions that state leaders believe are divisive.

Last month, Youngkin called on parents to report divisive practices within schools via an e-mail tip line, but the governor’s office said it will not release those e-mails publicly.

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