Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe handed his Republican gubernatorial opponent Glenn Youngkin a campaign ad on a silver platter during a Tuesday debate by stating that he would not allow parents to tell schools what to teach their children.
McAuliffe, a Democrat who is seeking a second, nonconsecutive term as Virginia governor in November’s off-year election, proudly acknowledged Tuesday that he vetoed legislation while governor that would have alerted parents when there was sexually explicit content in instructional materials.
“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said. “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
By mid-Wednesday, Youngkin, a first-time candidate and former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, turned McAuliffe’s statement into a campaign ad. It contrasted McAuliffe’s words with complaints from parents speaking about sexually explicit content in school materials.
“You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education,” Youngkin said during the debate.
Culture wars over “critical race theory” and transgender policy have taken hold in school board fights across the state, fueling Republican organizing power. In Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County, a blowup at a school board meeting earlier this year led to two arrests.
McAuliffe’s position may also run counter to Virginia law, Youngkin’s campaign noted. A state law reads: “A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent's child.”
McAuliffe has brushed off right-wing concerns about critical race theory, claiming that it is a “conspiracy theory” that “is totally made up by Donald Trump and Glenn Youngkin.”
But Youngkin has argued that schools started embracing critical race theory during McAuliffe’s tenure, pointing to a 2015 presentation on the theory at a school conference and noting that Loudoun County schools have paid for “critical race theory development.”
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Original Author: Emily Brooks