In a surprise come-from-behind win, Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor, defeated Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe in last night’s off-year election. The most current election results have Youngkin winning 50.9% of Virginia voters, with McAuliffe at 48.4%.

Politicians and pundits will continue to speculate as to why Youngkin clinched the victory in a state President Biden won last year by more than 10 points.

But one issue that may have determined the outcome of the race is education.

Virginia has been a hotbed for controversy involving education – with parents frequently protesting at their local school board meetings over the teaching of critical race theory and the availability of sexually explicit material in library books. The Daily Citizen has covered numerous such stories.

One of the key moments of the race for Virginia governor occurred when McAuliffe asserted during the second debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

That statement undoubtedly garnered quizzical looks and raised eyebrows from parents, particularly Christian parents who are concerned about what their children may be learning in public schools.

On the other hand, Youngkin promised during the campaign to ban critical race theory (CRT) in Virginia schools.

“[I]n the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we’re called to judge one another based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin,” Youngkin said in an interview before election day. “And that’s why there’s no place for critical race theory in our school system, and why, on day one, I’m going to ban it.”

According to exit polls released on election night, education was one of the top issues on the minds of Virginia voters.

A CNN exit poll found that around half of Virginia voters said parents should have “a lot” of say in their children’s education, with another third saying parents should have “some say.”

In his victory speech last night, Youngkin continued to lean into the education issue, promising to open more charter schools.

“On day one, we’re going to work,” Youngkin declared. “We’re going to restore excellence in our schools.”

“We’re going to introduce choice within our public school system … We’re going to start with 20 charter schools and we’re going to make a down payment and close the gap on giving parents an opportunity to select where their kids go to school. Friends, we’re going to embrace our parents, not ignore them.”

“We’re going to press forward with a curriculum that includes listening to parents’ input,” Youngkin promised.

Focus on the Family President Jim Daly penned a blog post on Youngkin’s victory where he wrote, “Don’t mess with moms and dads.”

“Love and care of our children are hardly partisan issues, but when politicians attempt to assume the seat and authority of a mother or father – watch out. Parents are ultimately responsible for their child’s education … Any politician who tries to usurp moms’ and dads’ authority should be on notice – don’t get too comfortable.”

If you’re concerned about your child’s education, check out our new resource Back to School for Parents: A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them.

Our free resource will help you in several ways.

  • “Discover what’s happening in schools and why you should be concerned.”
  • “Each section covers different topics, such as how to protect your child from inappropriate or biased material in the classroom, what to do when you find offensive or explicit books in your school library, and how to guard your child’s safety in school restrooms and locker rooms.”
  • “Learn about your rights and your children’s rights.”
  • “Suggestions about how to respectfully advocate on behalf of your child.”
  • “Guidance on how to talk with your children about sensitive and difficult subjects.”
  • “Links to additional helpful articles and resources.”

You can access your free copy of Back to School for Parents here.

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