Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin set up a tipline so parents could report incidents of Critical Race Theory, or CRT, being taught in public school classrooms, but he didn’t bother to publicize the complete failure of the plan when the line was shut down in September for lack of reports.
The 2020 election cycle was rife with lies about CRT, a college-level discipline that Republicans carefully conflated with anything at all that taught about the history of racism and bigotry in the United States. Parents showed up at school board meetings to complain about the CRT they (mistakenly) believed was being pushed in elementary classrooms, as well as COVID precautions and acceptance of LGBTQ students and families.
Republican candidates campaigned on these misapprehensions, and, riding the coattails of this trend as he campaigned in 2021, Youngkin promised to implement a tipline so parents could report educational concerns. In January 2022, after taking office, he debuted the line, inviting parents to report incidents of CRT.
He’s resisted open records requests, but some messages sent to the tipline were cc’d to other organizations, and have been released. Unsurprisingly, there’s virtually no reference to CRT in them, although one student did claim that his teacher’s lesson on Beowulf should be considered to be CRT because the teacher apparently pointed out the lack of female warriors.
From USA Today:
“Despite the hundreds of records in the selection of emails, they comprise a small, vocal group of people at about three dozen email addresses who often reiterated their grievances in multiple missives. ..CRT, the graduate school-level framework that examines how racism continues to shape society, came up rarely.”
In September of 2021, while campaigning, Youngkin tweeted to claim that a ban on CRT was necessary and that he was the candidate to do it.
As governor, I will restore our high standards for schools and our students, ban critical race theory, invest in our teachers and schools, and empower parents with real choices. Our children deserve better, and on day one, we'll go to work. pic.twitter.com/8KcEmfBAcD
— Glenn Youngkin (@GlennYoungkin) September 9, 2021
A year later, his defunct tipline was canceled — and the majority of the communications it received were reportedly in the first few months of his governorship.
In fact, Youngkin hasn’t had much to say about the purported teaching of CRT in public schools since implementing the failed tipline. His website still boasts the ban on CRT but has issued no real updates, no evaluations of this policy, and no reports on the effectiveness of the tipline.
Why not? Perhaps because, as the Washington Post reports, the worst the tipline could produce was apparently a few complaints about masks, some parental whining about a free tutoring program that they thought could be “a potential path” for “perverts” to access their students (there’s no indication the free program was mandatory), and the aforementioned Beowulf gripe. The whole state apparently managed to muster up about half a dozen complaints about books they thought didn’t belong in school libraries.
On the other hand, there were reportedly dozens of emails to “report” teachers being exceptionally helpful, and at least one mocking the line by reporting that students were being taught “Arabic numerals.”
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.