LEESBURG, Virginia – Parents in Loudoun County, Va. Gathered on Saturday to support the idea of having a stronger voice in classroom programs, encouraging people to voice their grievances at the polls in November.
The rally, held outside the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors building in Leesburg, welcomed about 100 parents, activists and community organizers to talk about the issues of the governor’s race.
“The Virginia election is going to be the first election where politicians are held to account for what we see, not just here, but across the country,” said Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, who co -organized the event. .
The event was also hosted by Fight for Schools, a non-partisan political action committee that helps elect political candidates who “support equal opportunity, tolerance, meritocracy and achievement”.
The rally came shortly after recent comments by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on limiting parent participation in classrooms.
“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach,” McAuliffe said last week during the final debate against GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin.
Mr McAuliffe’s comments were quickly turned into an attack ad by Mr Youngkin, who juxtaposed his position alongside pictures of parents speaking at school board meetings.
The Democrat, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, then doubled down on his comments, saying the state’s Board of Education, working with local school boards, should determine what is taught in classrooms .
“Listen, we have a board of directors [Education] working with local school boards to determine the curriculum for our schools. You don’t want parents to come in every different school jurisdiction saying this is what should be taught here, this is what should be taught here, ”McAuliffe told CBS 19 Charlottesville.
The McAuliffe campaign previously did not respond to a request for comment on this topic.
Joe Mobley, a Loudoun County parent and community activist, argued Mr. McAuliffe’s comments showed a “fundamental misunderstanding” about how governments should work.
“When former governor, Terry McAuliffe, says parents have no rights, parents shouldn’t be involved in what their children are taught, it is absurd because parents are the exercising authority. an authority over the school board, ”Mr. Mobley said in an interview.
Education has been a centerpiece in the governor’s race, with Mr. McAuliffe pledging to put $ 2 billion into Virginia schools a year.
On top of that, Mr McAuliffe pledged to increase teachers’ salaries, expand broadband and modernize schools to eliminate racial inequalities in schools.
Mr Youngkin, on the other hand, has focused more on his vow to eradicate the teachings of Critical Race Theory, an academic thesis born in the 1970s that asserts that American institutions are systematically racist.
The Republican had previously promised that one of his first official acts as governor would be to sign an executive order banning teaching in Virginia public schools.
Outrage over the alleged teachings has made Loudoun County the national epicenter of parent activism, despite school officials denying that critical race theory is taught in county schools.
John Beatty, who sits on the Loudoun County School Board, said he believes education may be the only issue that determines the outcome of the race.
“It’s going to play a huge role, especially given Terry McAuliffe’s blunder last week when he said parents shouldn’t have a say in their children’s lives. [education]said Mr. Beatty.
Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia and head of the Trump administration, who spoke at the rally praised Loudoun County, encouraging parents to continue their activism by voting in the election.
“America is watching Loudoun County,” Cuccinelli said. “All of America was inspired by the fact that parents stepped forward to annoy Terry McAuliffe by actually trying to have a say in their children’s education.”
Polls varied on the leading candidate in the state, indicating a close race a month before election day.
A Monmouth University poll last week showed Mr McAuliffe was up 48% from Mr Youngkin’s 43%.
The poll was conducted September 22-26 and interviewed a random sample of 801 voters in Virginia, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.
Election day is November 2, but early voting is still underway in Virginia.