Virginia Department of Education visits Roanoke to hear feedback on SOLs

ROANOKE, Va. – The Virginia Department of Education is touring the state to gather people’s thoughts on the History and Social Science Standards of Learning which has been a hot-button issue in recent months.

Many parents, teachers, and community members were eager to share their opinion on what their children should be learning in school. Around 30 people spoke to several education board members.

Some were in support of the latest 2023 draft of the standards, while others were in opposition. Eliminating lessons on labor rights was a concern for some.

“They’re trying to take stuff out,” Scott Barry, who spoke at the meeting, said. “It’s like if you can cause people to forget their history, you can help rewrite their future and to me that’s very concerning, and we all should be standing up saying wait a second.”

The most common topic was how people of color’s stories will be taught, although the speakers were divided on whether changes should be made.

“If students get distorted views of history, that shapes the way that they think about different groups of people, especially marginalized groups of people,” another speaker, Emily Yen said.

Meanwhile, some shared support for the latest revision.

“There’s a good focus on the foundational elements of our government,” speaker Amy Snead said. “Especially for the younger students focusing on citizenship and responsibility actions and consequences for the decisions that you make in life.”

The Board’s Director of Communications declined to comment following the meeting.

The Virginia Department of Education will hold two more public comment sessions across the state next week.

About the Author:

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.