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History standards draft delayed, according to VDOE spokesperson

A mask-wearing Daniel Gecker, president of Virginia's Board of Education, sits behind a panel.
Crixell Matthews
Virginia Board of Education President Daniel Gecker could schedule a special meeting in January to vote on the proposed standards. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Updated 1:13 p.m. Friday

Virginians will soon get a look at a new set of proposed history standards for public schools — but likely not until early January.

Several days after saying a new draft of proposed history standards for public schools would be ready by the end of the week, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Education told VPM News they would be released after the holidays.

They "[m]ay have an update next week but for now, early January," the spokesperson wrote in an email.

Virginia Board of Education President Daniel Gecker could then schedule a special meeting next month or wait until the regularly scheduled meeting in February to vote on the new proposal.  

Last month, the board unanimously rejected taking up history standards presented by Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s education team, criticizing them for historical inaccuracies and minimizing the contributions and views of minorities. 

State law requires the state’s history and social studies standards be reviewed at least every seven years. The latest revisions to the 2015 standards began during Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration; representatives from around 30 groups, including experts on Indigenous, African American, Asian American and Hispanic history, among other cultures and ethnicities, proposed technical edits. 

David Randall heads the advocacy group Civics Alliance — one of several conservative groups that weighed in on the Youngkin administration’s version of the proposed history standards. He said they’re an improvement over the prior draft, which he said contained “progressive” vocabulary, like “diversity” and “Indigenous People.” 

“It is used to delegitimize Americans,” Randall said about the language he cited. “All Americans are indigenous to America.” 

Critics contend that this framing suppresses or “whitewashes” cultural contributions made by people who are not descended from Europeans.  

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.