Virginia Department of Education approves revised History Standards of Learning following controversial changes

RICHMOND, Va. – The controversial revised History and Social Science Standards of Learning were approved during Thursday’s meeting with Virginia’s Board of Education.

The approval comes nearly two years of back and forth where some parents accused the revisions to be “white washing” history and teachers saying the document was too “political.”

“I do think they are much improved,” said Board Member Anne Holton.

Every seven years, the Department of Education revises the standards they say as a way to keep up with new discoveries and emerging stories.

It was a long road to get to the point of approval since the first draft of the revised standards that took out people of color from history, according to parents, by taking out lessons like Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Indigenous People Day and Asian American history.

“I think at some point this process has gone off the rails,” said Board Member Dr. Alan Seibert.

The standards approved Thursday do have these items in it.

“While today is a positive step forward, this is only the first step,” said one parent who spoke at Thursday’s meeting. “We got here through a grossly undemocratic process and the scars to attempt to white wash our history will not heal overnight.”

Parents and board members seem pleased with the revisions made for the final approval, calling it a good balance.

“You will see hundreds of changes,” said Holton. “Changes that elevate labor history, changes that restored Asia and African history in world history in third grade,” she added.

As for next steps, the following timeline is proposed by the VDOE.

  • May 2023–September 2023: Curriculum Framework Development
  • November 2023–August 2024: Textbook Approval
  • August 2024–June 2025: Crossover
  • August 2025: Full Implementation of the History and Social Science Standards of Learning

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