Alex Oxford, Worker-Correspondent
Governor Youngkin has recently taken to erasing Virginia’s rich labor history, this report was written by a Worker-Correspondent that attended one of many hearings on this issue happening across the state. (More here: https://vacpusa.org/2023/03/15/statement-from-the-district-labor-commission-3-15-23/)
-There were about 60 speakers; 2 in favor of the standards (a think tank rep who was paid to be there, and local fascist embarrassment Philip Hamilton, who lied and claimed to be a historian), 1 or 2 ambiguous (they ran out of time before stating their point), and all others opposed.
-Representatives from lots of unions were there. Notably the SEIU, VEA, CWA, UFCW, Teamsters, AFL-CIO, and IBEW.
-Lots of NAACP members there too.
-Many current and retired teachers spoke.
-Lots of folks wearing red.
-Mostly middle-aged and older folks spoke at the hearing, but also a couple high school students.
-A couple older speakers drew a direct line from the biased history their generation was taught to the right-wing violence and bigotry we see today.
-One speaker pointed out that an increasing number of students are refugees and immigrants, so an emphasis on patriotism and nationalism is especially harmful to them.
The frequently hit on points were:
-Needs to be more teacher (+ student) and expert involvement in drafting the standards.
-Needs to be more focus on critical thinking, and less on memorization.
-Teachers need to be able to teach in the way they think is best.
-School Districts should be empowered to alter the sequence of classes.
-More on the history of organized labor, especially the connection between the labor movement and the civil rights movement.
-More on the history of Black people, Native Americans and other indigenous peoples, Asians, and Asian-Americans in the US+VA.
-More on the history of slavery and genocide in the US+VA;
-More on the historical contributions of people other than white men to things besides just civil rights movements.
The meeting is an encouraging start, but the fight is just beginning comrades, our opposition can not win! The history of the working class will not be erased!