(CNSNews.com) - "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach," Democrat Terry McAuliffe said in his last debate with his Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin. The two men are running a tight race for Virginia governor.
On Sunday, CNN's Dana Bash noted that McAuliffe is "getting pummeled" for the remark: "So, the question is -- the fact that you are getting pummeled by Republicans, who say it shows that you don't think parents should have a say in their children's education. So, my question is, do you think parents should have a say in their children's education?"
"Of course," McAuliffe said. "And they do. First of all, they get to elect school boards, and if you don't like them, then you get rid of them. But let's talk education," he said, changing the subject and talking about his "very serious plan" to invest $2 billion to raise teacher pay, provide universal broadband and educate at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds.
Bash asked McAuliffe if electing school boards is the only say parents should have in their children's education, a question McAuliffe dodged:
Well, clearly, they have a say to be involved in the school boards that they pick and so forth.
But they want to know, are their children getting a world-class education? I did that last time I was governor. And let's be clear. In Virginia, we're fourth in the country on K-12. We're number one in the country on higher ed. So we got a great education system.
The issue is -- and he's trying to do a backdoor deal on the Trump -- he talks about this Critical Race Theory. And I got to be honest with you, that is a dog whistle. We don't have Critical Race Theory taught in Virginia. He brings up -- this is a Trump-Betsy DeVos thing on education.
I hate to see people divided. I am a uniter. I got us out of the worst economic chaos before. I will do it again with COVID. And I do it in a bipartisan way.
"I'm glad you brought up Critical Race Theory," Bash said. "And you call it a dog whistle. But it seems to be working somewhat in Virginia."
Bash mentioned one Democrat who plans to vote for Youngkin because "he believes public schools are pushing a radical agenda in which American history is portrayed as racist and transgender kids are encouraged to use the bathroom of their choice."
"So, you lost that voter. What do you say to him?" Bash asked McAuliffe:
I really hate to see what Glenn Youngkin is trying to do to Virginia what Donald Trump did our country. I really hate to see the division, the hatred. We're putting these children in this horrible position.
Let's just be clear. We don't teach Critical Race Theory. This is a made-up -- this is a Trump/Betsy DeVos/Glenn Youngkin plan to divide people. And it really bothers me. I try to unite people. I want to give every child, regardless of whom you love, the color of your skin, or whom you pray to, a world-class education.
I did this before. That's why parents overwhelmingly support me. I'm going to build the greatest education system. But electing Glenn Youngkin, dividing children, dog whistles, creating racist -- I mean, it's horrible, what's being done...
Loudoun County in northern Virginia has become a flashpoint for angry parents versus a leftist school board that has instituted a "Culturally Responsive Framework" for teachers that has educators continually working to "increase our equity literacy and racial consciousness." This, in turn, filters down to students.
Among many, many other things, the framework calls for implementing "Social and Emotional Learning" for "all students in an inclusive environment"; and identifying and disrupting "implicit bias in the school and community environment."
The framework is entirely focused on race, systemic racism, and "marginalized" people.
Youngkin says Terry McAuliffe, when he was governor in 2015, "pushed the divisive political agenda of critical race theory into our schools."