- Sep 16, 2008
Virginia's GOP governor shut down a hotline that parents could use to report 'critical race theory' complaints because not enough people were sending tips
Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin shut down a hotline designed to field complaints about "critical race theory" because not enough people were sending in tips.
"The help education email was deactivated in September, as it had received little to no volume during that time," Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said in a statement.
The tip line was initially set up to flag instances of schools teaching critical race theory — a college-level academic framework looking at how racism has shaped public policy — which became a target for conservative politicians as school board and local elections heated up.
Critical race theory is rarely, if ever, taught in pre-college US education, but the academic concept became a flashpoint of the Virginia gubernatorial election that Youngkin won, Insider's Gwen Aviles previously reported.
After he was elected, Youngkin announced the hotline, saying in January that the goal was to have parents report "any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated" or if schools are participating in "inherently divisive practices."
But, according to USA Today, few parents were sending in tips about CRT. In fact, they were using the hotline to write to the office about special education violations, to express concerns about academics, and to praise teachers.
USA Today obtained a sample of 350 emails that were all dated in the first few months of 2022.
According to USA Today's analysis of the emails, CRT rarely came up in the samples of emails they reviewed.
Ten people sent emails complaining about mask mandates. Others expressed concerns about academic rigor, COVID-19 policies, and equity.
Emails from parents about teachers performing "divisive practices" were uncommon.
One parent sent roughly 160 emails to the tip line, USA Today reported, shedding light on the fact that multiple parents' requests for special education services had been allegedly denied.
"My primary purpose was to raise the issue of how the governor failed us," Kandise Lucas told USA Today. "He won an election on how parents matter; parents voted for him because he validated their voice. And we learn now, 10 months into his tenure, that we don't really matter."
"CRT is not the threat," Lucas wrote in some of her emails to both Youngkin's tip line and to the education department.
One former teacher used the new hotline to write glowing reviews about the teachers she had worked with during her career.
"I have written a tip a day for the past 34 days about 36 outstanding teachers in Virginia," Sheila Jones wrote in March, USA Today reported. "I have received no response from your office (not even an auto-reply from your tip line)."
One student reached out to the tip line, though, USA Today reported, complaining that their teacher had based a curriculum on the book "Beowulf" around critical race theory because "it portrays the warriors as men and not women."
Even though the hotline has been shuttered, constituents can still reach the governor's office through other methods to share concerns, Porter told Insider.
So I guess the centerpiece to Youngkin's entire campaign for governor was all a lie afterall.