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Opinion | Glenn Youngkin’s Virginia state board of education picks offer hope

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Education was key to Republican Glenn Youngkin’s profitable marketing campaign for governor of Virginia, and it has figured prominently in his first months in workplace. Unfortunately, some of his strikes — his first govt order forbidding the educating of “inherently divisive concepts,” the institution of a secretive tip line for folks to snitch on academics and his bid to oust the Loudoun college board — appeared to be outgrowths of the divisive ideology that drove his marketing campaign. But his selection for education secretary — an knowledgeable within the use of knowledge to drive education reform — provided some hope that Mr. Youngkin could be extra occupied with bettering education than simply weaponizing it. Now his first appointments to the state board of education offer additional encouragement that Mr. Youngkin desires options for the problems which have lengthy bedeviled education.

A standoff with the General Assembly over gubernatorial appointments gave Mr. Youngkin the unprecedented alternative to call 5 members on the state’s nine-member Board of Education, which has broad authority over points affecting private and non-private education within the commonwealth. His decisions, introduced final week and topic to legislative approval, promise so as to add folks with a range of fascinating experiences and views to the board.

Andrew Rotherham is a former Bill Clinton education adviser and member of the Virginia state college board who co-founded a analysis nonprofit centered on bettering studying outcomes for marginalized college students. Grace Turner Creasey, an knowledgeable in early-childhood education, is govt director of the Virginia Council for Private Education. William D. Hansen, deputy secretary of education underneath former president George W. Bush, heads up a nonprofit devoted to serving to public constitution faculties construct and finance amenities. Alan Seibert, former superintendent of Salem City Schools, is the constituent providers and authorities relations officer for Roanoke City Public Schools. Suparna Dutta, a know-how knowledgeable, is co-founder of the dad or mum group Coalition for TJ (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology).

The appointments predictably drew some criticism. Opponents of constitution faculties questioned Mr. Hansen’s appointment, and people who assume Mr. Youngkin is out to destroy public faculties pointed to Ms. Creasey’s choice. But Mr. Youngkin is true to determine a giant education tent that’s welcoming of new concepts. Charter faculties, as their success in D.C. reveals, can play a vital function in education; they offer selection to folks and are laboratories for innovation. Private and parochial faculties, too, play a job and are affected by selections of the board. Ms. Creasey wouldn’t be the primary personal college board member, and he or she taught for 10 years in public college programs. That Mr. Youngkin reached out to Mr. Rotherham, a Democrat whose nationally acknowledged work has been centered on underserved college students, suggests the governor acknowledges the necessity to deal with Virginia’s obvious racial, ethnic and earnings achievement gaps. We are much less keen about Ms. Dutta’s choice. As a dad or mum activist who supported Mr. Youngkin through the marketing campaign, she helps him ship on his dedication to parental engagement. But her work within the fraught debate over TJ — wherein she opposed the college’s wanted admission modifications — are off-putting to those that fear a few retreat from range and fairness.

Virginia education officers two months in the past launched a report that documented in devastating element a years-long pattern of declining pupil efficiency, made worse by the pandemic. Clearly, the board — fortified with its new members — has its work minimize out for it.



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