Glenn Youngkin’s Education Movement

The issue of education propelled Youngkin to the governorship. Some think it could take him to the national level.

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: Since taking office last year, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has pursued — and largely delivered — what he sees as a common-sense education agenda without full control of the state government or leaning heavily into divisive culture politics.

  • Catch up: The issue of education propelled Youngkin to the governorship. He campaigned strongly on the issue as debates intensified about the extent to which parents should have a say in their children’s schooling.

Not just the culture war: Youngkin has enacted policies to ensure parents are notified if their children start identifying as transgender, or are bullied in school, and to allow parents to request alternative material when there is class instruction that includes sexually explicit content.

Classroom instruction: Youngkin changed social studies curriculum to remove critical race theory while keeping an “objective” view of history. He also put $30 million toward addressing the significant learning loss stemming from COVID-19 school closures.

  • Pushing further: Youngkin forced pornography websites to verify the age of their users to block access for minors, which led many such sites to stop operating in Virginia. He also wanted to require parental permission for minors to create social media accounts, but Democrats stopped him.

Why it matters: The success of Youngkin’s “blueprint” on education is fueling speculation that he will run for either the Senate or presidency in the future, though he says he’s focused on Virginia’s elections for now. His brand has helped him seize on popular support for education reform without the divisiveness commonly associated with it.

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