Suparna Dutta, a mom who immigrated to this country from India, was nominated and appointed by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in July 2022 to fill a vacancy on the Commonwealth’s Board of Education, which sets education policy in Virginia. Her nomination was up for a confirmation vote in the Virginia Senate on February 7 along with the governor’s other appointees.
Why? It seems the outspokenly patriotic Dutta, who has been serving on the Board of Education since last July while awaiting her confirmation, outraged liberals in her state by denouncing socialism, applauding the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, and advocating for Virginia public school curriculums that are based on “traditional American values.”
At a recent Board session, Dutta spoke in favor of proposed changes to history and social science standards in Virginia by highlighting two foundational principles: (1) the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are remarkable documents; and (2) socialism and communism are incompatible with democracy and individual freedoms.
Other members of the board challenged Dutta. Anne Holton, who is married to U.S. Congressman Tim Kaine, D-Va., said she was “uncomfortable” with that language.
“You cannot reference the Declaration of Independence and Constitution as remarkable documents without also acknowledging that they contain fundamental flaws of enshrining slavery and limiting the protections that they provided for only to white, propertied men,” Holton said.
Of course, Dutta never argued that American history should be sanitized of its imperfections, which are specifically included in the proposed new standards for which she was advocating.
Nevertheless, Dutta was targeted by a left-wing Virginia group called VirginiaGrassroots, which urged liberal state senators to vote against Dutta’s confirmation because she is allegedly “divisive” and “disruptive.”
The tactic worked.
Following the vote, Governor Youngkin criticized the senate’s action, saying, “She is not only qualified, she epitomizes parental involvement in our schools and we need her voice on our Board of Education.”
Virginia, of course, has seen an increase in parental involvement at the local level over the last few years in response to controversial local school board policies on sex, gender identity, critical race theory, pornographic reading materials and others.
In fact, the rise of the “Momma Bear Movement” of concerned parents in Virginia (and elsewhere) prompted by out-of-control school boards in Loudoun and Fairfax counties likely led to Youngkin’s successful come-from-behind election as governor in 2021.
It is apparent from Ms. Dutta’s defeated nomination that parents still have some work to do in Virginia to reclaim control over their children’s education. Perhaps this setback in the Old Dominion will provide the motivation necessary for the parental rights movement in Virginia and elsewhere to push ahead with renewed motivation.
Our children are worth it.
Photo from Shutterstock.