Virginia approves new history standards that include lessons on patriotism, respecting the flag

Daily Caller News Foundation

The Virginia Board of Education approved new history standards on Thursday that include lessons on patriotism and respecting the American flag.

In a 9-0 vote, the board came to a compromise on the state’s K-12 history and social science standards following months of debate. The board will now create a curriculum and pick textbooks to accompany the guidance which teaches students the definition of patriotism and to respect the American Flag through the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

“There’s no reason that this had become as controversial as it became,” Dan Gecker, the board president, said at the meeting. “That said, I am looking forward as opposed to backward, and I’m comfortable that the standards will meet the needs of Virginia’s children.”

Prior to approving the standards, the board of education made slight revisions on Wednesday including a reference to Columbus Day as “Indigenous People’s Day” and additional points on the history of labor.

The approved standards include lessons on the symbolism of the colors in the American flag, and teach students to apply their social science skills to “describe the symbols and traditions that honor and foster patriotism in the United States.”

“The civics strand builds students’ knowledge of citizenship, patriotism and the establishment of the U.S. Constitution,” the standards state. “The strand includes specific expectations for students’ knowledge of how the U.S. government is structured (the three branches of government), and confirms a nascent understanding of the basic rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship.”

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin proposed the first set of standards in August which the board rejected, instead ordering Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow to write new guidance. The original standards were criticized for referring to Native Americans as “immigrants” from Asia.

In November, the state board of education proposed new standards which received backlash for not including Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth as holidays that are taught and recognized, according to The Washington Post. Both holidays were added into the curriculum standards approved by the board on Thursday.

The Virginia Board of Education did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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