Virginia’s newly sworn-in Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, signed 11 executive actions on his first day in office, including banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory and the mandatory wearing of masks in schools.

Youngkin set out to quickly deliver on some of his campaign promises and did so by addressing some of the hot-button issues in Virginia. Among them, he highlighted ending “the use of divisive concepts in public education.”

In a statement introducing the executive orders, Younkin said:

“Inherently divisive concepts, like Critical Race Theory and its progeny, instruct students to only view life through the lens of race and presumes that some students are consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist, or oppressive, and that other students are victims,” the governor warned.

He then went on to say, “This denies our students the opportunity to gain important facts, core knowledge, formulate their own opinions, and to think for themselves.”

Youngkin is very clear in his anti-racist discourse, precisely what he advocates is that children should not judge each other by their skin color. And as he argues, Critical Race Theory aims to establish the idea that there is a world divided between oppressors and oppressed, where whites would be the oppressors and blacks the oppressed, pretending to blame white children for events of the past, when the reality was completely different from the present.

“All of the principles of critical race theory, the fundamental building blocks of actually accusing one group of being oppressors and another of being oppressed, of actually burdening children today for sins of the past, for teaching our children to judge one another based on the color of their skin, yes, that does exist in Virginia schools today​,​ and that’s why I signed the executive order yesterday to make sure that we get it out of our schools​,” he said.

The newly inaugurated governor also cautioned that there doesn’t need to be a class called Critical Race Theory for it to make its presence felt in schools. Its ideals are increasingly accepted among some progressive teachers and they are responsible for transmitting them to students in various ways.

In this sense, he proposed to increase the transparency of classrooms, so that parents and authorities can really know what children are learning in school.

Specifically, the executive order directs the state superintendent of education to review all policies, programs, academic standards and curricula within the Department of Education to determine whether they promote or support inherently divisive concepts such as CRT. 

The order also prohibits any executive employee from “directing or compelling students to affirm, adopt, or personally adhere to inherently divisive concepts.”

Another of the executive orders signed, which fulfills another of his campaign promises, seeks to empower Virginia parents in the education and upbringing of their children by allowing them to make decisions such as whether or not their children should wear a mask to school.

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