Dividing Concepts – The Virginian-Pilot
The Buzz is a weekly question about an issue affecting residents of Hampton Roads. Read all of this week’s responses at pilotonline.com/opinion and dailypress.com/opinion.
Removing partisan political concepts that divide classrooms seems reasonable. Public schools are funded by all taxpayers. The divisive concepts of the blue Democratic Party and the red Republican Party should not have a dominant role, but a mixture in “purple” concepts seems to best represent the whole taxpayer.
Dave Moore Sr., Virginia Beach
These “concepts of division” that the Youngkin administration wants to suppress are a reality for some people. Trying to ignore the truth is counterproductive. This does not promote critical thinking or the trust that young people traditionally have in their educators. Children will see the world around them and it is up to educators to put the world they see into context.
Georgette Constant, Norfolk
I support the governor’s efforts. He does a brave, upright job of keeping opinionated, unacademic concepts out of the classroom, as he promised. As expected, he faces partisan headwinds of grunts, grunts and even lawsuits from the usual group of disgruntled sore losers, amplified and metastasized by the media.
Don Vtipil, Norfolk
I think propagandist Christopher Rufo orchestrated the national elevation of tenable concerns into outright “critical race theory” hysteria. He is now inventing another misinformation campaign by accusing “5 million students of being currently harassed, manipulated and sexually abused” in public schools. See his new City Journal article, “No Conspiracy Theory.”
Steve Corneliussen, Poquoson
All educational content should be age appropriate. That said, historically, Virginia has been overlooked in accurately describing our role in the Civil War. Regardless of how this topic is divided, middle and high school students need to be educated about our white supremacist roots.
It’s pretty obvious that Youngkin has other political ambitions. He has found a winning message that appeals to many of his base members who are reality and story phobic in their chauvinistic leanings. He ironically uses the Culture War Division in a jujitsu move to make it look like he’s fighting the Division.
Paul Kotarides, Norfolk
I agree with the action the G=Governor says/does. I certainly don’t agree with what the media is doing in taking legal action.
Ami Rilee, Gloucester
Paid for by all of us, public schools exist to provide tools for smart voting as well as earning a living and living a full life. How can these things happen if no one is allowed to discuss difficult ideas, whether they are “divisive” or not? Sad times for big schools in Virginia.
Virginia Dopp, James City County
Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order No. 1 is wrong on several levels. Not only is it incomprehensible what a “divisive concept” is, but it also includes the elimination of the Virginia Math Pathways Initiative. It’s hard to talk about slavery, immigration, and the economy without understanding how America evolved. Children need to understand how we got here.
Talbot N. Vivian, DHA, Yorktown
We used to learn math and science, good English, reading and writing. There are too many socio-emotional issues in classrooms these days. Parents are pulling your children out of public schools. You have plenty of good alternatives. Courage.
Melinda Webb, Hampton
There are not two sides to every problem. Who can teach the “positive side” of the Indian massacres, the horrors of slavery or the Holocaust? If you’re just teaching the “whitewashed” (and yes, I use that word wisely) version of events, it’s not history. These are fairy tales. Schools should teach facts, not fables.
Chris Kelly, Virginia Beach
This is an attempt to (literally) whitewash education in public schools. They don’t want the atrocities and horrors committed by whites on blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians, LBGTQ and women to be taught because their children might feel bad, when they should be horrified . Hopefully we will come to terms with our past. Ignoring it is not the solution.
Susan Clark, Suffolk
Not much, considering the concept of division is in the Virginia resident’s eye. Does our public education enlighten the student as to other skin colors? Or does education cover the subject of flatulence in adults as written by Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales, an early English classic?
Robert Neely, Newport News
Students should be able to know what these terms mean from an educator’s perspective. It is the educator who has studied these new and questionable terms. What is “divisive” for one person is not for another. Allow students and educators to have the discussion. We could all learn something.
Jo-Ann Mahony, Hampton
If the plan is to teach these concepts in primary grades, what would be the psychological impact on a young child? Dividing concepts should be taught in high school or college classrooms. The Youngkin administration listens and responds to concerned parents.
Hugh Baskette, Norfolk
Official censorship of “divisive concepts” with a tip line. Definitely a “great leap forward”! More is needed: a “Youngkin youth” with badges of merit to point out heresy from teachers, parents or others; a paperback book listing safe topics for speaking or writing; a “Governor’s Council” to promulgate and enforce regulations prohibiting speaking, writing or thinking in a divisive manner.
Ken Lambert, Norfolk
What does that mean? Everything is divisive. Aren’t teachers allowed to say anything about politics, religion, slavery, Nazis, civil rights, LGBT, climate change, reproduction, evolution? I expect it will eventually be invalidated as a wave. During this time, it will be used to harass teachers.
David Campbell, Virginia Beach
The administration’s effort in this regard seems misplaced. Our teachers and educators have spent years developing their knowledge of teaching our young people and are well qualified to provide the best for our young people. Politicians, who are poorly qualified in the field of education, should let teachers and educators do their job.
Hank Henson, Norfolk
Ever since the Virginian-Pilot filed a lawsuit over this, a dispute has existed. The Buzz addresses this subject once the complaint has been filed. The public sees it for what it is. I get the feeling you want the identities of the complaining parents so you can dox them.
Brian Kirwin, Virginia Beach
The Governor’s effort to remove divisive concepts from the classroom is nothing short of blatant censorship. This is Governor Youngkin’s whistle to uninformed voters and his administration’s attempt to whitewash history. The history of Virginia and the history of the United States do not always reflect America’s promise.
Old story. My parents and I were teachers and administrators when the goal was to educate children to be informed citizens, but never in neighborhoods that used the bus for segregation. By the mid-1960s, children became political pawns, pitting groups of parents against each other with teachers caught in the middle.
Joseph L. Bass, Ed.D., Suffolk
Some in public schools want to talk to your 4, 5 and 6 year olds about their sexuality and gender identity, white privilege or black oppression. It’s happening now. They want to transfer their corrupt morality to the innocent. This is what moral decay and societal decay look like.
Sam Jackson, Newport News
Some members of the government consider it essential to impose their convictions and block those with whom they do not agree; these measures are characteristics of authoritarian governments or those who seek them. Democracies allow educators to control the content and environment of the classroom so that young people can learn to learn and come to their own conclusions.
Dave McGinnis, Williamsburg
Editor’s note: After considerable thought and conversation, the Editorial Board has made the decision to discontinue this weekly feature from The Virginian-Pilot & Daily Press’s Opinion Page. We are extremely grateful for the loyal participation of readers, who responded each week with thoughtful, passionate and sometimes humorous answers to the Buzz question.
On Wednesday, we launched an opinion-driven email newsletter – “Viewpoints” – which will include a sampling of the best editorials, most compelling columns, thoughtful political cartoons and strongest letters to the editor. Sign up to receive this newsletter at membership.pilotonline.com/newsletters/.