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Tags: glenn youngkin | virginia | governor | naep | report card | law enforcement

Gov. Youngkin: We Pledged to Virginians We'd Raise Standards

glenn youngkin speaks into a microphone
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks at a campaign rally for Republican U.S. House nominee, state Sen. Jen Kiggans in Smithfield, Virginia, on Oct. 27. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 31 October 2022 08:57 AM EDT

Just about a year ago, Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected Governor of Virginia in a nationally-watched election in which he beat former Democrat Governor, Terry McAuliffe.

Since his inauguration in January, Youngkin has been successfully implementing his visionary plan for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In a recent interview with Newsmax, Youngkin spoke about how he plans to move Virginia away from the liberal Democrat agenda of McAuliffe and former Gov. Ralph Northam (Youngkin's immediate predecessor in the only state in the nation that limits its governor to one consecutive term).

Youngkin began by explaining the meaning behind the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report card.

"This is also a National Report Card," he told Newsmax.

"And it's the next of the string of alarm bells ringing loudly at the detrimental impact on kids across Virginia, from decisions made over the last couple of administrations. Virginia now has the lowest standards for deeming what is proficient for kids in the nation; failed to hold people accountable; an opaque accreditation process, they said we have to increase the highest accreditation levels to 85%; and finally, we are watering down expectations in our curriculum.

"If you couple all of that with extended closure of schools across the Commonwealth, then you get what we have been seeing this entire year, which is results from last year that are heartbreaking and horrific."

As examples of what he meant, Youngkin pointed out that "you have fourth graders in reading and in math that fell the furthest in the nation," adding that "we were the last in falling in reading and tied with Maryland for math. We fell three times further than the average across the nation."

Youngkin also dispelled the defense that Northam's policies failed because of the pandemic.

In his words, "This is a universal condemnation made in the past, long before COVID-19 came into the vocabulary. What happened under COVID-19 was something that tried to build on something that was built on sand instead of being built on rock. We have got to go to work, and, on day one, my first executive order was to get divisive concepts out of the classrooms and get excellence back in."

The Virginian proudly recalled that "we pledged to Virginians in May to raise standards and have transparency, and make sure that kids are prepared for life."

That meant that "in August, we launched Executive Directive 3 to tackle the teacher shortage, and just this week we added an absolute directive from me to put our standards back at the top of the nation as opposed to last," Youngkin continued.

"We have launched emergency tutoring programs… we have put $30 million into targeted emergency tutoring starting Jan. 1, and we have begun aggressively moving teachers into the system through an expedited licensing process for our great Virginians. I highlighted this week that there is $2 billion across the Commonwealth that is sitting in local school bank accounts that was funded to get local schools open and to close this gap, but the money remains unspent. Counties like Fairfax County have $177 million in their bank accounts, and they need to spend it."

Throughout the election in 2021, Youngkin vowed to "put families first." To him this is more than a slogan.

"At the heart of the entire effort is putting parents not just back at the table, but at the head of the table of their children's lives," he told Newsmax.

"We've had a consistent effort with making sure that parents can make a decision of their children wearing a mask or not; creating transparency of whether there are sexually explicit materials in the classroom and that they conform to their own values and their family's values, and if they do not, they can have an alternative curriculum; putting parents back in charge of decisions when their child may be questioning their gender.

"Parents must be at the forefront, and as part of the whole effort to change policies and passing legislation, we are establishing a place at the Department of Education where parents can go for help to navigate the school system. Children who are way behind are going to get personalized learning strategies so that parents can see where their children are to foster transparency and empowerment."

Youngkin also recalled his repeated commitment on the campaign trail to making Virginia a safer Commonwealth.

"We have $400 million going behind law enforcement incrementally to raise salaries and fund equipment, get better training, and a laser beam effort to make government efficient," he said.

"We found $1.2 billion that was appropriated that shouldn't have been, and we are going to put that back into a rainy-day fund and give it back to taxpayers. We are doubling down on violent crime. We just announced Operation Bold Blue Line, where we're recruiting 2,000 new law enforcement officials, including prosecutors. When someone commits a violent crime with a gun, they are going to get prosecuted. We are tired of standing by and watching violent criminals being let out on catch-and-release or not being prosecuted at all. We will make sure we have resources to make arrests and to prosecute."

Confident in his vision of law enforcement and education, Youngkin also announced new initiatives for the second year of his term.

"We are going to make Virginia more affordable," he told Newsmax.

"All public universities and institutions will have a flat tuition starting this year, and we recognize that we can't let inflation run away from everyone. We have a commitment to make government work for Virginians through affordable housing. We are going to cut through the ice age pace zoning and permit approval process to get people building."

As to the importance of these issues to the Old Dominion State, Youngkin told Newsmax, "These are issues that families are facing all across the nation — rising crime, runaway inflation, and failing schools. When we try to put solutions together to face these issues head-on, we have to be looking at outcomes. Governments try to judge themselves based on activity not outcome, but where I come from its outcomes that matter."

Prior to moving into the governor's mansion in Richmond, Youngkin was CEO of the international Carlyle Group firm and, in winning the election, became the second governor in a century who had never held elective or appointive office before.

Given his agenda and where it is at this point, supporters say he apparently did not need the experience that those offices offered.

Michael Cozzi is a Ph.D candidate at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Just about a year ago, Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected Governor of Virginia in a nationally-watched election in which he beat former Democrat Governor, Terry McAuliffe.
glenn youngkin, virginia, governor, naep, report card, law enforcement
Monday, 31 October 2022 08:57 AM
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