On April 11, 2022, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia tweeted that Governor Youngkin had banned “the teaching of ‘divisive concepts’ (including some Black history) on his first day in office.” The ACLU of Virginia juxtaposed this with his signing of a bill to create Virginia license places honoring “Black History Month” as “Virtue-signaling”.
The Chalkboard Review staff have reviewed this claim and Executive Order Number One (2022), and have found ACLU’s statement:
Black history is not mentioned in Governor Youngkin’s executive order, nor are any authors or historical events restricted.
The executive order specifically restricts “inherently divisive concepts”, specifying Critical Race Theory—replacing them with “concepts and lessons that ensure all Virginia students are taught to respect all individuals regardless of their race, sex, or faith.”
“Inherently divisive concepts” is defined in the executive order as: “any idea in violation of Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” with examples including the inherent superiority or inferiority of any race, skin color, ethnicity, sex, or faith.
Furthermore, the practice of applying present value to individuals based on past actions of any group is restricted, though this may already be a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Reports of questionable curricula are placed under the office of Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction for review.
The executive order was signed by Governor Youngkin and Secretary Thomasson on January 15, 2022.