(The Center Square) – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is disputing several news reports that claimed every school superintendent in the state opposed his tip line to report divisive concepts taught in public schools.
Last week, the Virginia Association of School Superintendents sent a letter to the governor that expressed disapproval of his tip line, which allows students and parents to report teachers and schools for teaching divisive concepts, such as critical race theory. In the letter, VASS said it does not believe discriminatory and divisive concepts have become widespread in the commonwealth’s education system and urged the governor to terminate the tip line.
Although VASS represents all 133 superintendents, the association’s director, Ben Kiser, confirmed to WRICthat the superintendents were never polled and the letter does not necessarily reflect consensus among its members. The letter was adopted by VASS’s 12-member board.
Several media outlets, including the Washington Post, reported that every superintendent urged Youngkin to end his tip line. Some outlets issued corrections on their news stories, but some did not. The Washington Post issued a clarification, which states the superintendents did not vote on the letter, but still kept a headline alleging that every superintendent urged the governor to get rid of the tip line.
Youngkin said in a statement that he does not believe the association’s letter represents what superintendents believe.
“This letter is a gross misrepresentation of what superintendents believe, I believe,” Youngkin said. “It’s my understanding that in fact there was not a vote, this was a board of an association that wrote a letter and mischaracterized the support they had for that letter. I think that’s wrong. This is what these associations are trying to do: which is again put bureaucracy, put politicians, in between parents and their children. This is why Virginians elected me in the fall. This is why we went to work on day one and on day one we reaffirmed the rights of parents to make these decisions.”
House Republicans issued a statement, which criticized the media reporting of the letter.
“When a story is too good to check, it’s usually not true,” the statement read. “That’s the unfortunate truth a number of media outlets are learning this week as they are forced to walk back claims that ‘all 133’ of Virginia’s School Superintendents are angry with Governor Glenn Youngkin.”
The Center Square reached out to Kiser for a response to Youngkin’s statements, but did not receive a response by the time of publication. The Center Square also asked whether VASS intends to poll its members.