Youngkin: Washington still ‘father of country’ in Virginia schools


Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks prior to signing the budget at a ceremony at a grocery store Tuesday June 21, 2022, in Richmond, Va. The Virginia General Assembly passed the budget earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(NewsNation) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia is pushing back against the state’s proposed changes to their Standards of Learning, or SOL, which included, among other things, no longer referring to George Washington as the “Father of our Country” and James Madison as the “Father of the Constitution.”

“I disagree with the removing of the nomenclature of George Washington as the father of our country, because of course he was and, of course, James Madison as the father of our Constitution. So all these standards still need significant work,” Youngkin told 7News. “And we’re going to reinforce, as part of our curriculum, the role of our Founding Fathers in our country. We’re not going to erode it.”

“I believe that we should tell our history accurately, the good and the bad. And part of the history we’re going to tell is that our Founding Fathers, including George Washington and James Madison — let’s not forget about Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and the others — played an extraordinary role in the founding of our nation,” Youngkin added.

Every seven years, it is customary for Virginia’s education department to review, discuss and soemtimes propose changes to the SOL curriculum for the Virginia Department of Education, or VDOE), to review.

After VDOE’s review, however, education officials told 7News that the proposed changes were an “inadvertent” error.

The Virginia Board of Education met Wednesday to determine the proposed changes, with Youngkin as a surprise guest.

According to ABC13, Youngkin’s administration wanted to put a hold on the proposed changes to see if there are more errors in the 400-page policy before the board votes on it. 

“We don’t want the public having to say there’s a typo here,” Jillian Balow, state superintendent of public instruction, told 7News. “You’ve said succession instead of secession, or you’ve omitted George Washington from this particular area, and it’s supposed to be here and it isn’t. We just want a draft that is free of those types of errors.”

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