‘Parents Of Virginia Stood Up And Spoke Loud And Clear’: Republican Lawmakers, Parents Reflect On What Youngkin’s Win Means

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FILE PHOTO: Republican Glenn Youngkin holds election night event in race for Virginia governor

Republican House Representatives and Virginia parents gathered for a roundtable on Wednesday to discuss the Democrats’ proposed Reconciliation package and the future of education nationwide following Glenn Youngkin’s win in the state’s gubernatorial race Tuesday.

Education leaders and legislators outlined what they believe will happen next as parents continue to fight for a say in their children’s education.

“Last night the parents of Virginia stood up and spoke loud and clear,” Republican Chairwoman Elise Stefanik said. “Glenn Youngkin ran on education and he won on education.”

She credited the COVID-19 pandemic’s virtual learning as giving parents a “window” into what their kids are being taught, which gave them a reason to be concerned over their exposure to “radical ideologies” and “inappropriate instructional materials.” Rep. Burgess Owens said the best thing to happen during the pandemic was “the exposure of the total incompetence of our education systems.”

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In an Oct. 4 memorandum, Attorney General Merrick Garland called on the FBI to “use its authority” against parents who threaten or use violence against public school officials, citing a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” The action, which was viewed by many as an intimidation tactic, sparked outrage from parents nationwide.

Garland’s memorandum instructing the FBI to mobilize and intervene at local school boards meetings is an “unconscionable” action, Stefanik said.

Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy also criticized Garland’s memorandum as a tactic to intimidate people and said House members would be “crafting a parent’s Bill of Rights, so parents do have a say in what goes on.”

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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona’s refusal to say that parents should be the primary stakeholders in their kids’ education, signaled that the Democratic party “believes that government knows better than parents when it comes to what is right for their kids,” which is “out of touch with the values and experiences of families across America and we saw that clearly in Virginia last night,” Stefanik said.

Ginny Gentles, an Arlington County resident and advocate for school choice criticized the Democrats’ plan to expand the “failed model” of the education system.

“The cavalry is coming,” Neily said. “We saw this last night and we are seeing this around the country… people are mad and they are awoke and I think what’s exciting is this is a really unusual group of people that have come out.”

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“This is not just a bunch of conservatives,” she added. “These are people, I mean probably 10 or 15 percent of the people we hear from are people who say, ‘I’m a lifelong Democrat, but I don’t like this.’”

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