Virginians Respond to Youngkin’s CNN Education Town Hall With Fact-Checking, Skepticism

By Meghin Moore

March 10, 2023

On Thursday night, Gov. Glenn Youngkin was on a CNN Town Hall with Jake Tapper that focused primarily on education issues. He said Virginia’s policies should be a “playbook for education” on a national level, but educators, legislators, activists, and even students in Virginia who watched the town hall didn’t think that was the case.

In case you missed last night’s town hall on CNN, issues that had precedence in Virginia’s most recent General Assembly session, such as bills targeting transgender students, so-called divisive concepts, book bans, and even Virginia’s history standards were discussed.

Youngkin opened the town hall talking about how the pandemic opened parents’ eyes to their children’s education, because “parents had a front row seat,” where “what they saw being taught in the schools was pitting children against one another based on sex, race, religion,” also known as the divisive concepts Youngkin hoped to end in schools when he issued Executive Order One upon taking office.

In CNN’s recap of the town hall, Gov. Glenn Youngkin was deemed the role of “peacemaker” in a GOP field “dominated by political pugilists.” For more local coverage, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a more comprehensive look at the issues brought forth in last night’s town hall.

Virginia’s Advocacy Groups

Advocacy groups focused on education kept a close eye on last night’s town hall, offering some real-time fact checks about some of the claims Youngkin did (or did not) talk about, including Virginia’s unfinalized budget. Groups like The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, Virginia Education Association, Progress Virginia, and the Virginia Chapter of Generation Ratify gave some interesting insight.

Virginia’s Politicians

Current Virginia House and Senate members, including Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg, Sen. L. Louise Lucas, and Sen. Jennifer Boysko also had a lot to say about last night’s town hall, as well as former state legislators and candidates who have declared their intent to run ahead of the November general election.

Teachers, Students, Etc.

Legislators weren’t the only ones with their attention focused on the town hall. Parents, students, teachers, and other professionals had a lot to say when it came down to how Gov. Youngkin presented the state of Virginia education on national television.
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