Northam Appoints Leaders to Guide Public School Overhaul

Sen. Jennifer Boysko, new co-chair of The Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee

by James A. Bacon

Governor Ralph Northam has announced his appointees to an advisory committee tasked with making recommendations about adopting “culturally relevant and inclusive education practices” in Virginia’s public schools.

The committee will be led by three co-chairs: Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Herndon, who introduced legislation to set up the committee; Francisco Durán, Arlington County school superintendent; and Andrew Daire, dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education.

Francisco Durán, Arlington school superintendent and committee co-chair

“Inclusive and culturally relevant learning environments are vital to creating equitable pathways to success for all Virginians,” Northam said in a press release announcing the appointments. (See the full list here.) “The work of this committee will advance our ongoing efforts to tell the complete and accurate story of Virginia’s complex past, improve our history standards, and give educators opportunities to engage in important conversations and lessons with their students.”

“When we teach an honest narrative of our past, students better understand their place in history and are equipped to work toward a better society,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “This committee will build on the work of the Commission on African American History Education to ensure the content taught in Virginia classrooms is accurate and inclusive of perspectives which have been historically marginalized.”

Andrew Daire, dean of the VCU school of education, and committee co-chair

According to the Governor’s press release, the Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Practices Committee will develop recommendations for:

  • Updating the History and Social Science Standards of Learning;
  • Creating Board of Education guidelines for local school division staff, including teachers and school counselors, on age-appropriate anti-bias education for students; and
  • Infuse “culturally relevant and inclusive education practices” into teacher preparation programs, teacher licensure, and licensure renewal.

Ignore the P.R. pabulum in the statements by Northam and Qarni. The committee is charged with issuing recommendations for overhauling school curricula, teacher guidelines, and teacher licensure, and it will be guided by the principles of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a philosophy that attributes unequal educational outcomes between racial/ethnic groups to white privilege/fragility and systemic racism.

If you doubt where this committee is heading, just read co-chair Daire’s “Statement addressing systemic racism” at VCU to get a sense of his ideological commitment to CRT. Says he: “We will continue to work toward better understanding implicit and institutional bias along with white fragility while we provide the opportunities for our school’s leadership to become anti-racist leaders.” 

In the nomenclature of the left, “anti-racism” does not mean opposing racism, it means implementing reverse racism in order to rectify past injustices to minorities.

Bacon’s bottom line: This initiative will do nothing whatsoever to improve the academic performance of minority children in Virginia, and it will do nothing whatsoever to close the racial achievement gap. Insofar as it distracts from the real problems afflicting minority children, actions stemming from committee recommendations likely will make the achievement gap worse. But it will likely succeed in doing one thing: It will transform Virginia public schools into centers for leftist indoctrination.

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56 responses to “Northam Appoints Leaders to Guide Public School Overhaul

  1. Exactly, this is why we have so many who are totally clueless, where the hard sciences are going to people from other countries. The parents are the ones who should be teaching this, not the schools. I’m definitely one who works for equal opportunity and rectifying issues. The state and local elected ones should practice what they preach because I’m for more stuff that will truly help minorities than they have ever done. Didn’t need the schools to teach me that either. Family did.

  2. Atif Qarni is a gigantic billboard proclaiming Ralph Northam’s incompetence.

    Instead of focusing on how to “catch up” from the utterly unnecessary and disastrous, anti-science school closures, Northam and Qarni (The Abbot and Costello of Virginia politics) are going to tackle this.

    If things were going reasonably well within Virginia’s public school systems right now this might be an overplayed but somewhat valuable exercise. But things are not going well and this proves, once again, that Northam can’t force himself to attend to the critical issues that face the Commonwealth.

    Knock, knock … McFly (i.e. Kirk Cox) ….

    Parents of Virginia’s public school children are getting more and more angry with Northam and Qani’s willingness to overlook the real issues so they can play woke virtue signaling games.

    • “Instead of focusing on how to “catch up” from the utterly unnecessary and disastrous, anti-science school closures, Northam and Qarni (The Abbot and Costello of Virginia politics) are going to tackle this.”

      Abbot and Costello are wrecking some of the finest public school systems in the nation. In so doing, they are sacrificing all those kids’ futures on the alter of a bogus race grievance racket, one that is designed and built to win votes (political power) for Abbot and Costello, while it destroys the students education, and poisons their understanding of how their culture, history, and society works, and their ability to succeed within it. This two man wrecking team is ripping up these kids futures and inheritance. This is pure evil, hard at work.

  3. more “other side bad” from the get go…..

  4. One thing, Mr. Bacon: There is no such thing as “reverse racism”, there is only racism – or the lack thereof.

    • The premise of “reverse racism” resides in the often stated belief that only whites can be “racist”. Is completely and utterly absurd of course, which you clearly pointed out. However, that’s how we got the term.

  5. Damned and condemned from the get go… a BR “standard”.

    where is the pro/con narrative?

    People like PackerFan and others say there are “partisans” here on BR.

    I say it starts with many of the original posts.

    And then folks respond – and PackerFan and Steve accuses those that respond of being “partisan”.


    BR is mostly an echo chamber these days – but I will give Jim credit – he does allow adverse comments … good on him… but bad on those who fling the “partisan” crappola.

    • That’s simply because Larry your “criticism” outside of anyone on the right side of spectrum is vague and generalized. No one takes you or it seriously.

      Echo chamber? Says the fellow who can’t defend his ideas or notions without assistance and attacks any opposing view to his own.

      • Right, and we take these BR one-sided posts seriously?

        These posts are a joke – they really do hew to one point of view. They don’t even pretend to look at both sides of the issue.

        And those that say that are accused of being “partisan” ?
        or their comments “don’t matter”?

        Sounds like an echo chamber to me…

        going for daily walk now…

        • All well and good, Larry, but instead of just claiming it’s all one sided, partisan etc., why don’t you post a countervailing opinion that works off of some facts that might be meaningful. If you think Northam’s initiative will help minority students, tell us how and why. The lack of any specific meaningful commentary from you simply puts you in the troll category.

          I know you can write meaningful stuff, I’ve seen you do it.

        • Larry,

          The only person who takes you seriously is yourself. I’ve yet to see you make a coherent or reasoned comment. That’s not to say you can’t, but it would require you to remove to political lens that shades your opinions.

          You are not now, nor have you ever been open to a contrary point of view no matter how buried in fact and data it is. The very essence of this fact is you clamoring of the buzzword “science” without knowing what science is or how it’s applied, despite others trying to correct you.

          The echo chamber is yourself, peter, NN, fromthefuture and upagainstthewall. Whom unless someone knowtows to your opinion and views, gets bashed relentlessly.

          I’m a reasonable person, but I can be an asshole. It’s very easy for me to become an asshole when broad brush generalizations are used and when someone who doesn’t agree with that individual is disparaged.

          Broad brush statements and disparaging isn’t a method to debate nor is it a method to find common ground, it’s just being an asshole.

    • “…but bad on those who fling the “partisan” crappola.”

      You clearly do not own a mirror.

    • Larry – you have no defense. My comment was that the closing of in-person learning for almost a year has caused serious damage to the education of our public school students. Northam has no plan to mitigate this shortfall in education. Hell, he doesn’t even have a plan to reopen the schools for full-time in person learning. This should be his first and only priority. Instead, the jack-wagon is playing patty cake with some committee to implement reverse racism. This is typical Northam. When he couldn’t launch an effective COVID testing program in Virginia he talked about other things. When he can’t distribute the vaccines quickly he talks about other things. When he can’t get our students back in school and devise a plan for them to catch up from the unnecessary school closings he talks about other things.

      The man is badly ineffective on a number of critical issues.

      You can give him a pass. I won’t.

      • Well not quite , you mention teachers unions and liberals and across the country schools have gone virtual so your point seems to be that all public schools are teacher unions and liberals, and that’s the real reason they are not in-person.

        It’s this kind of inane blather that permeates BR at times and anyone who points that out is a leftist and unable to make good points… yadda yadda…

        • “…you mention teachers unions and liberals…”

          DJ has made two comments on this thread. I just searched through each of them, and maybe I’m going blind or something but I cannot find the word “liberal” or the phrase “teachers union” in either one of them.

          Can you point them out for me?

          • No. Over many blog posts, he does… it’s a pattern… along with his hatred of Northam.

            If you really want to find out – go search BR for the word “snowflake”….and you’ll find DJ when he was on that kick.

          • Larry,

            No, it is not “no”. You just made a comment in which you claimed DJ wrote something which he clearly did not write. The fact that unbeknownst to the rest of us you are engaging in RAC (Random Access Commenting) does not make you any less wrong about what he wrote on THIS thread.

            But at least you admit you have not read either the article or DJ’s comments with an open mind, and that you have nothing productive to say about the governor’s new appointments.

        • In fact, the word “liberal” and the phrase “teachers union” do not even appear in the original article posted by Jim Bacon.

          • take my word – it’s a theme and a pattern… or if you doubt it – file your complaint and move on…to your own insightful blather.


          • Once gain, you need to take a long look in the mirror, sir.

  6. Baconator with extra cheese

    I hope they provide culturally relevant education videos to the RVA kids. Their SOL scores indicate a large portion of those kids can’t read, write, or do relatively simply math.
    Again, the people have spoken with their votes. I am happy they will be given exactly what they think they wanted.

  7. So if we should look more broadly at different cultures, why do these dip-&&&&& lump every Hispanic person into a single group when the facts show there are many different Hispanic cultures? And what about Asian cultures? African versus African-American? People who moved here by choice sure have a different experience than those descended from people who came in chains. And there are big differences in cultures in Africa. And how about European cultures. There are big differences between Eastern, Western and Southern European cultures.

    Is the curriculum sufficiently responsive to kids with different religious beliefs?

    Protected by the human filth at the Washington Post and the rest of the MSM, Northam continues use his power to have others atone for his racism. There are great parallels between Northam and Trump.

  8. To LarrytheG: Quit griping and write something worthwhile to submit for posting on Bacon’s Rebellion. Jim Bacon has posted articles/op-ed pieces items by Peter Galuszka and others who are anything but “echo chamber” types.

  9. Well it could start with reasonable blog posts to start with instead of the wretched same old same old partisan blather, i.e. all public schools are run by liberal union flacks..

    • Instead of yelling “blather,” address my comments about different cultures that Northam and cronies lump together.

      Or talk about colonialism. The Brits colonized India in around 1612 and “granted independence” in 1947. That’s 335 years. The English colonization of Ireland began around 1162, intensified in the 1500s, with independence in 1949. A full 1/8 of the population died in Gorta Moir — the Great Hunger. Where are the woke talking about reparations to me?

      • TMT – the general theme here in BR with critics is to find something, anything , upon which to launch criticism, even if it just totally inane or not really an issue then keep on it.

        I’m quite sure VDOE is not 100% perfect on the cultures issue and that over time theywill get feedback and make changes. Big effing deal.
        You can find problems like this across the board in almost all agencies of government from VDH to the DOC to DEQ.

        But we use these things to condemn the whole agency – the Governor, etc… like everything that is wrong is not only their fault but proves they are a failure.

        Dick, to his credit, when he does a post – explores the good, bad and ugly and then offers more insight into some of the issues and at the end of the day, it’s sometimes not that black and white.

        That’s the way the real world works.

        We have issues. We work on them. We try to get better.

        You guys want to condemn and call total failure for any and every perceived issue – sometimes.

        It’s an all or nothing approach and the real world is not tha way.

        • ” …the general theme here in BR with critics is to find something, anything , upon which to launch criticism, even if it just totally inane or not really an issue then keep on it.”

          I agree 100%. You do this all the time.

        • By the way, I agree with others that you should write, and submit to BR, an analytical article about an issue which is important to you; and I encourage Mr. Bacon to post it here so we can all see how it’s supposed to be done.

          You would obviously be better at it than most of the people currently writing for the blog because you have NO preconceived notions or biases about anything and you re ALWAYS willing to see both sides of an issue.

          I look forward to seeing your insightful analysis of [Take Your Pick].

          • I actuall do that in comments in response to way-over-the-top biased blather here sometimes.

            And the thing is – all of us have cursors that work and if someone doesn’t care for some comments, why respond in the first place instead of moving on down to the ones you do want to respond to?

            Sort of hypocritical I think. If you respond, you must have considered the comment to be substantial enough to do so, no?

            See I’m giving you , once more, a wide open opportunity, to respond yet again with a comment on my person and not the content of my remarks. That actually seems to be a theme here for some of you… Don’t like the comment, go after the person.

        • I don’t criticize everything. People make mistakes. I do come down quite hard on institutions that say one thing and do another. I try hard to walk my talk. I’m not always successful.

          I have absolutely no respect for Northam. He engaged in totally racist behavior as an adult; got a pass from the media when he ran for Lt. Governor; admitted and then denied it was him. And most awful is his path to redemption is not personal, but rather, using the powers of his office and other people’s money to do “woke” things. And keep in mind that the F&&&&&& ran campaign ads calling his opponent a racist. If anyone thinks a Republican governor could do the same and not be run out of office, please explain.

          Fairfax County Public Schools was unable to start remote learning for about 6 weeks; won’t start in-person learning until January 12; regularly changes budget format every few years so that people cannot follow expenditures; sabotaged private repair of school buses; tried to open a second headquarters building when thousands of kids were in trailers; adopted an expensive program for autistic children after a trial showed poor results to avoid a charter school; has a supplemental pension plan that no other nearby school system has and has incurred a huge deficit in it by overestimating its earnings; failed to provide open meetings and complete information to the public when it proposed to change admission standards for TJ; built a school for 3000 students that is far from full, while other schools in the county are overcrowded; repeatedly lied or refused to provide information in response to residents’ questions. That’s what popped to mind without research.

          Do you think criticisms in these areas are blather or that people should just accept these major failings and actions as just things that happen?

  10. The number one problem facing K-12 in education today is opening schools for in-person learning in the face of the epidemic. Nothing else comes close. Failure will have tragic long-term consequences, mostly for poor and minority students. The refusal to deal directly with this challenge is a colossal failure in leadership. The focus on “culturally relevant” curricula is a sidebar and a distraction.

    If you think that pointing this out is “inane blather,” Larry, then there really isn’t much for us to talk about.

    • Jim – who sez that is the ONLY thing they are doing in the first place?

      And WHY is it all, 100% bad and wrong without scintilla of potential good?

      Finally, the thing about school openings is very much a partisan divide issue and you act like it’s a foregone conclusion that everyone agrees with that – and it’s simply not true.

      People are split on the issue and there is a shortage of teachers to begin with so what exactly do you do when 20% of your staff are not there? Shut down some classes or double or triple others or what?
      None of that is considered by the critics who go right to the “liberals and unions” – INANE BLATHER – YES!

      Kids are not going to be lost forever. That’s more blather. How about a year behind – a year later to graduate? What is it forever instead?

      And the funny thing is you and others HATE public schools to start with! You just spent a prior blog post claiming that Virginia schools are terrible, when, in fact, they rank in the top 5 or so in the country for NAEP.

      A constant drone of negativity that the echo-chamber critics can’t get enough of!

      • “What exactly do you do when 20% of your staff are not there? Shut down some classes or double or triple others or what?”

        What are private schools doing? What are the handful of public schools that have remained open doing? Not making pathetic excuses, apparently. Maybe VDOE could learn something from them.

        • Well , unless you know, why do you assume they are not having that problem and that the kids are learning?

          In some schools that are in-person, they’re having to hire parents and school-bus drivers for classes. How well do you think the kids learn in those classes.

          ” Teacher Shortage Compounds Covid-19 Crisis in Schools
          Early retirements and quarantines force some administrators to recruit parents, bus drivers to baby-sit classrooms; ‘it’s all hands on deck’”

          none of that is mentioned in the inane “open up schools now”.

  11. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Better get used to it. Many years of a steady diet of this stuff coming our way. Northam forgot to add somebody from his neck of the woods Accomac/Northampton. No Tangier Islander either. Not very inclusive.

  12. Unfortunately the three strategies stated to address the inequity issues will not even begin to address the problem. It appears to me that these strategies center on the idea that you can educate an individual on his/her implicit bias or are otherwise unknowingly inhibiting students educational attainment who find themselves in those traditionally lower performing subgroups. This may work with a very few folks, but I don’t think they have enough detergent to fully brainwash that many people via a theoretical framework that has little basis in practice.

    If you really want folks to change their practice, all you have to do is show individuals the results of their own practice. Once folks see how they impact their students (both teachers, school administrators, and division administrators), then they have the concrete basis to make decisions to help make things better, monitor their progress, and continue to make adjustments until the objective is achieved.

    BTW, the strategy explained above costs very little. I know Larry, you’ll want a detailed step by step tome of exactly how each individual teacher will accomplish this:) In reality, this will be accomplished through a myriad of strategies employed by induvial- it already has been in some parts of the state to great effect. There is no one strategy that is the silver bullet- each individual must problem solve to find that path forward that works for them (or their school/division) and their students. The data will tell folks when they’re on the right track. When they get on the right track, they keep trucking. If they’re not, they keep problem solving until they find it. It’s really not rocket science, and contrary to popular belief, our teachers and administrators are more than capable enough to get this done. They just need the proper leadership to steer them in the right directions and stop the madness of distracting them with “high falutin'” ideas that don’t have any basis in our reality.

    • re: ” I know Larry, you’ll want a detailed step by step tome of exactly how each individual teacher will accomplish this:) ”

      Well, probably not but I do distinguish between plain old reading, writing and math whether taught by defined, documented institutional protocols and subjects like history and social studies that do allow individual interpretation by teachers.

      But we KNOW that we had this kind of stuff going on in schools :

      It’s not like it never happened and not like we all have our own biases – including teachers.

      I’m NOT in favor of teachers being “observed” and rated on this basis – that WOULD be over the top but I see no real harm in continuing education and seminars that are held all the time on a variety of issues.

  13. Speaking of “echo chambers”, and actually on-topic for once (a rare feat for me, I know) it appears to me that every single person the governor appointed to this committee is possessed of the exact same mindset regarding “culturally relevant and inclusive education”.

    While they may appear diverse from the standpoint of race and sex, I see no sign of diversity of thought among the members of this committee. They all appear to me to have the goal of injecting as much partisan politics as they possibly can into the education of our society’s most valuable asset.

    By not including anyone other than left-leaning supporters of the “critical race theory” fad I think the governor has doomed the committee to failure from the start. As it is currently structured, I don’t think this committee has a chance in hell of making a positive difference in public education for the Commonwealth.

    • I’m not so sure that the objective of this committee is to solve the actual problem of inequity, but rather to implement specific strategies. Diverse perspectives would be counterproductive, if this is in fact the case. When we focus more on the process than the outcomes, we won’t make anything any better for our historically underperforming subgroups.

      • Oh, I don’t doubt the real objective of the committee, I was addressing the stated objective of the committee.

      • Part of this is whether one actually believes there are inequities, no?

        • I suppose. But whether or not one thinks there are inequities, one must realize that introducing NEW inequities is not a good way to eliminate inequities, no?

          • But the impending “criclejerk” of grievances will keep people in power for centuries to come. What better way to not have to do anything meaningful than pit one side against the other and step back.

          • I agree with that but initiating a dialogue about it is not introducing new ones.

            Even in the context of mandatory seminars and courses,
            if the presenters are wrong – they’re going to hear plenty.

            You have to start somewhere and go from there.

          • Larry,

            A dialog is two-sided. Look at the credentials and histories of members of that committee and then, with a straight face, try to tell me you honestly think that they want to have anything to do with a two-sided discussion.

          • A mandate to have the dialog does not say that those who mandate it have biased/pre-conceived views.

            That’s the claim made here in BR all the time about this and CRT and many other initiatives taken in the schools.

            You guys don’t seem to accept that teachers are actually independent and smart and are not about to be forced to do things they thing are wrong.

            You apparently think they are all “leftists” agreeing to force the next indoctrination… like some kind of conspiracy – yet another theme here in BR …

            I just do not buy the initial premise of the blog post.

            It has no balance at all… it starts off with an unfounded accusation promoted as if it were actually demonstrably true.

    • re: ” They all appear to me to have the goal of injecting as much partisan politics as they possibly can into the education of our society’s most valuable asset.”

      how did you arrive at that conclusion? Do you really know them and their motives?

      • No, I don’t know them and their motives, that is why I wrote “It appears to me…” before my statement.

        It’s my opinion, you annoying little man, and no matter how much you attack me in your churlish little passive aggressive way you cannot stop me from having, and stating, an opinion.

        • I think you might be projecting a little………

          • Whatever, Larry, at least I have the guts to actually put my own opinions out there.

            You’re too busy asking leading questions, dancing around the edges of issues and criticizing others for their opinions while refusing to clearly enunciate your your own.

          • Geeze Wayne… you did even more projecting… what’s with you?

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