WATCH: McAuliffe Puts Politics Over Parents’ Rights

Youngkin for Governor | Press Release

Political outsider, successful business leader, and Republican nominee for governor Glenn Youngkin’s campaign announced today the launch of a seven-figure statewide TV ad campaign highlighting Terry McAuliffe’s shocking statement at the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce debate this week: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

The day after the debate, McAuliffe tripled down against parents in an interview:

ROBINSON: Do you think parents should have a say in the curriculum?

MCAULIFFE: Listen, we have a board of ed working with the local school boards to determine the curriculum for our schools. You don’t want parents coming in in every different school jurisdiction.

McAuliffe’s opposition to parents’ rights contradicts Virginia law, which states, “A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.” (§ 1-240.1)

McAuliffe has always opposed parents making the best choice for their children when it comes to education:

  • In 2017 and 2016 , McAuliffe vetoed legislation creating Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts for Virginia parents and students.
  • In 2016, McAuliffe vetoed legislation allowing parents to transfer students out of failing school divisions, trapping disadvantaged students in broken schools.
  • In 2017 and 2016,  McAuliffe vetoed legislation which would have ensured parents were notified when sexually explicit material was assigned to their child.

In vetoing the legislation, McAuliffe did the bidding of the big labor special interest unions that fund and support his political campaigns to the tune of millions of dollars. “Governor McAuliffe vetoed all of the bills we asked him to veto!” crowed the Virginia Education Association (VEA) at the time, referring to McAuliffe as “our goalie in the mansion.” The VEA bragged that its “Government Relations staff was in continuous communication with the Governor’s staff on our position on these bad bills.”

In the debate this week, Youngkin confronted McAuliffe for vetoing as governor two bipartisan bills that would have required schools to notify parents of sexually explicit content in instructional materials, including assigned reading. Here is the key exchange at the debate, in which McAuliffe twice stated that parents should have no say in their child’s education:

YOUNGKIN: What we’ve seen over the course of the last 20 months is our school systems refusing to engage with parents. In fact, in Fairfax County this past week, we watched parents so upset because there was such sexually explicit material in the library they had never seen, it was shocking. And in fact, you vetoed the bill that would have informed parents that they were there. You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.

MCAULIFFE: So, first of all, this shows how clueless Glenn Youngkin is, he doesn’t understand what the laws were because he’s never been involved here in helping Virginia, but it was not. The parents had the right to veto bills, veto books, Glenn, not to be knowledge [sic] about it. Also take them off the shelves and I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision.

YOUNGKIN: You vetoed it.

MCAULIFFE: Yeah, I stopped the bill that– I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.

As The Washington Post Fact Checker noted, “While the former governor knocked Youngkin for not understanding the basics of the law that was debated, he mischaracterized the bills he vetoed. Neither bill would have allowed parents to ‘veto books’ or ‘take them off the shelves,’ according to the bills and the veto statements issued by McAuliffe at the time.”

As governor, McAuliffe failed students when his State Board of Education lowered school accreditation standards. In 2020, The Washington Post Editorial Board called Virginia’s lowering of academic standards a “mistake,” writing, it is “Little wonder, then, that results from the latest national testing, last year’s NAEP, showed significant drops in reading scores for both fourth- and eighth-grade Virginia students. … Virginia officials have long boasted about requiring more of their students than what is mandated by the federal government. Their constituents should be asking them why they would want to abandon that principle.”

Earlier this year, McAuliffe smeared parents concerned about critical race theory in schools as conspiracy theorists. But in 2015, McAuliffe’s Department of Education held a training for Virginia teachers that instructed them to “incorporate critical race theory (CRT) lens,” “embrace critical race theory” and “engage in race-conscious teaching and learning.”

Watch the Youngkin campaign’s new ad highlighting McAuliffe’s anti-parent extremism: “Parents

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