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Virginia legislation will require ‘cultural competency’ for teacher licenses

Legislation that passed both houses of the Virginia legislature by slim margins will require state teachers to complete “cultural competency” training to keep their licenses.

Governor Ralph Northam, who supported the bill, is expected to sign it.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, House Bill 1904 and Senate Bill 1196 would charge the Virginia Board of Education with creating “minimum standards” for what “cultural competency” entails.

The legislation also requires history teachers seeking licensure to have an “endorsement” for teaching African-American history.

The bills came about via the Virginia Commission on African American History Education which determined state schools “were doing a subpar job of teaching Black history.” The two-year-old commission’s lengthy report alleged “teachings of Black history [were] ‘incomplete’ and ‘tainted with a master narrative that marginalized or erased the presence of non-Europeans from the American landscape.’”

MORE: District wants layoffs based on ‘cultural competency,’ not seniority

From the story:

[The commission] defines cultural competency as an awareness of one’s own cultural identity. Teachers who are culturally competent should be able to be “culturally responsive” to students who are marginalized by race.

The measures sparked controversy and debate in committees, with some lawmakers questioning the proposals’ impact.

The votes were split on Monday: Senate Bill 1196 passed the House 57-43, and House Bill 1904 passed the Senate 21-18.

“I get concerned that I have a Department of Education that’s going to push down an indoctrination,” said Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, who is also running for lieutenant governor, during a Jan. 18 meeting of the House’s Education Committee.

In noting how Davis’s worries aren’t uncommon, the Times-Dispatch points out that the 1619 Project has been adopted by school districts nationwide, and that President Trump responded with the 1776 ReportHere’s a sampling of why Mr. Trump pushed back.

Read the article.

MORE: Notre Dame replaces PE w/mandatory ‘cultural competency’ lessons

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.