Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is calling on his state to “diversify” its base of teachers after complaining that there are too many whites leading classrooms and promising a program that would be used to attract more teachers of color.
“We got to work hard to diversify our teacher base,” McAuliffe said during a campaign event in Manassas on Sunday.
“Fifty percent of our students are students of color, 80 percent of the teachers are white, so what I’m going to do for you, we’ll be the first state in America,” he continued.
“If you go teach in Virginia for five years in a high-demand area — that could be geographic, it could be course work — we will pay room, board, tuition, any college, any university, or any HBCU here in Virginia,” he added.
In referencing historically black institutions of higher learning and “framing the program as intended to address this racial disparity” indicates he would use the program “as a kind of affirmative action, prioritizing non-White prospective teachers,” Fox News reported.
The network noted that McAuliffe’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment or clarification regarding the potential program. Also, the campaign did not say if McAuliffe is pushing for, or supports, racial quotas for primary school teachers. According to his campaign platform, he seeks to “address modern-day segregation in our schools” and aims to “cultivate the next generation of highly qualified and diverse educators.”
A spokesman for McAuliffe’s challenger, GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin, didn’t remark on the racial component of the Democrat’s program but rather honed in on raising teachers’ pay, an issue both candidates support.
“Forty-three-year career politician Terry McAuliffe failed to keep his promises to raise teacher pay to the national average the first time he ran for governor, so now he’s trying to scare teachers by lying about Glenn Youngkin’s education plan,” the spokesman noted in a statement to Fox News. “Unlike McAuliffe, Youngkin will keep his promise to raise teacher pay and propose the largest education budget in Virginia history.”
In 2009, when McAuliffe first ran for governor in Virginia, he campaigned on raising pay for teachers though he lost the Democratic primary to challenger Creigh Deeds. He took up the issue again in 2013 when he then won the primary and eventually the gubernatorial race the following year.
“When I am governor, we are going to pay our teachers what they deserve to be paid,” he pledged during his campaign.
He launched his current campaign last year making the same promise after serving as governor from 2014-2018, when low teacher pay remained an issue as it still does, Fox News noted.
The issue of public schools has become a focal point in the hard-fought campaign as more parents have begun showing up to local school board meetings to voice their opposition to various curricula including the teaching of highly contentious critical race theory (CRT). In addition, parents have pushed back on transgender policies that may have been partly responsible for a pair of alleged sexual assaults by the same student, which reportedly occurred in girls’ restrooms at two different Loudoun County schools. In addition, parents have ripped school boards over what they view as inappropriate sexually explicit books and materials in school libraries.
McAuliffe said during an earlier debate with Youngkin that parents should have no role in deciding school curriculum; Youngkin, meanwhile, has vehemently disagreed with that position and has argued that parents should have a voice in what their children are taught. And the GOP contender has vowed to purge CRT from schools.
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