by James C. Sherlock
George Orwell, call your office. A copy of “Virginia’s (New) Birth-to-Five Early Learning and Development Standards” is on your desk.
For our readers, go here and click the March 19 VDOE press release to download.
The Commonwealth has published “Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning” since at least 2013. They were excellent but voluntary.
Progressives cannot abide voluntary.
They have always considered parents the biggest obstacle to turning kids into little “social justice” warriors. Virginia’s General Assembly progressives have fixed that problem. The new program is mandatory unless you keep your kids at home until they must by law attend K-12.
Where your kids will get a “late” start on that journey.
Parents have no voice, much less rights in the matter. That is a progressive definition of heaven. (If that word has not been cancelled — hard to keep up.)
House Bill 1012 and Senate Bill 578 approved by the 2020 General Assembly transferred the authority to license and regulate child care programs from the state Board of Social Services and Department of Social Services to the Board of Education and VDOE, effective July 1, 2021.
It was the implementation of a plan pushed by Governor Northam. See here the changes to the law that go into effect July 1.
A program with the same goals could be managed in a way that actually helps. It is a good idea to provide child educational guidelines for care givers. Virginia has been doing it for years. And doing so brings federal money with it.
But there is absolutely no indication that the current Board will run this program either beneficially or competently. If experience and the new Standards are guides, it will bring the same dogma, heavy hand and chaos to child care centers, family day homes and preschool programs that the same Board has brought to K-12.
The Board’s new Standards “updated” existing standards that were two years old, clearly because the Board felt those standards did not sufficiently focus on “equity,” “cultural competency” and “culturally-responsive and inclusive standards.” If you think that was a problem, you will be happy with the new version. The new law also comes with new licensing standards and twice-yearly inspections of child care centers, family day homes and preschool programs.
The following was updated Mar 29 at 3:05 PM
The new “Virginia’s Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS) Birth-Five Learning Guidelines” validated my concerns. I quote (the parenthetical notations are mine):
“Culturally Responsive Caregivers and Educators:
– See cultural differences as assets;
– Validate the inequities impacting children’s lives (which means what exactly to a one year old?);
– Cultivate relationships beyond the classroom or learning space, anchored in affirmation, mutual respect, and validation (same question);
– Believe that ALL children can succeed and communicate high expectations for all children (valid one);
– Engage in reflection of their beliefs, behaviors, and practices (any particular religious baseline?);
– Utilize children’s cultures as vehicles for learning;
– Challenge racial and cultural stereotypes, prejudices, racism, and other forms of intolerance, injustice, and oppression (among three year olds?);
– Mediate power imbalances in classrooms and learning spaces based on race, culture, ethnicity, and class; (power imbalances among 2 year olds?)
– Communicate in linguistically and culturally responsive ways (anyone have any idea what that means?); and
– Collaborate with families and the local community”
“Achieving education equity- that is eliminating the predictability of student outcomes based on race, gender, zip code, ability, socioeconomic status or languages spoken at home – indeed requires that caregivers and educators engage in culturally responsive practice. It also requires that caregivers and educators are culturally competent, exhibit cultural proficiency and are fully cognizant of what culturally relevant pedagogy and culturally relevant/responsive teaching entails (see glossary for specific definitions that have been adopted by the Virginia Department of Education). To learn more about the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) equity commitments (#EdEquityVA) visit the Virginia is For Learners website. There you will find information about Future-Ready Learning, how the VDOE is supporting early learning, and learn about #EdEquityVA initiatives.”
That quote linking early childhood education to the EdEquityVA dogma eliminates any doubt that critical race theory will be the baseline philosophy of the education of children from birth to five years old.
I repeat: From birth to five years old.
Those guidelines will be converted to Virginia Administrative Code regulations for the purposes of inspections and penalties. I looked yesterday and they were not codified yet.
So, if you need child care in Virginia, your child will be immersed in critical race theory. From birth. If you don’t like it, stay home with your kids. Religious child development centers may face ethical obstacles. Too bad.
We await programs to instruct in vitro.
The standards will be published as regulations by the Board. The inspections will be conducted by the Department of Education. I have asked the VDOE to let me know when they determine the qualifications for inspectors. Which I think will be interesting.
What could possibly go wrong?