Youngkin pushes back on Democrat claims of ditching Martin Luther King Jr. in education standards

The office of Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin pushed back on claims from Democrats that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be dropped in the state’s revised education standards.

Youngkin’s draft revised 2022 history and social science education standards are currently in front of the Virginia Board of Education as a first review item receiving public comment. However, that has not stopped Democrats from pushing a narrative that the Republican governor is trying to nix educating students about King’s work.

Documents obtained by Fox News Digital show the revised education standards draft included educating students in kindergarten through fifth grade about all holidays, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office pushed back on false Democrat claims his education standards banned the teaching of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The documents also noted the initial draft listed examples of holidays but did not include the civil rights leader’s holiday enumerated as an example, and the current draft standards before the Virginia Board of Education have been updated with the holiday included as an enumerated example.

The holiday would be taught regardless of it being an enumerated example under the draft education standards, according to one of the documents.

Additionally, the document said the civil rights curriculum for Virginia was expanded under the new standards to include other notable leaders from the state, as well as increased depth of coverage into King’s legacy itself.

The documents also noted that former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s administration did not include any reference to King in their K-5 education standards aside from educating students about the holiday.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam answers a reporter’s question dealing with the state’s COVID-19 updates during a press conference at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Virginia, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.
(Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

Macaulay Porter, a spokesperson for Youngkin, blasted the Democrats’ claims about Youngkin striking Martin Luther King, Jr. Day from the state curriculum when Fox News Digital reached out for comment. She took aim at the previous administration over their “significant errors” in their education standards, such as not including “historical references to hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan.”

“The August 2022 draft policies developed under the previous Administration had significant errors in their standards, including omitting key historical references to hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, and Sen. Hiram Revels of Mississippi, the first African American to serve in Congress, and more, which have now been incorporated into the new draft,” Porter said.

“Despite various claims to the contrary, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is included in the revised standards and, in fact, they have expanded the depth of content required on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Youngkin’s spokesperson continued. “Through public comment, review, and input from Virginians, state and national historians, and various community organizations since January 2021, the draft standards are being molded to ensure our students learn all our history – the good and the bad.”

“The draft history standards are in the initial stages of the State Board of Education’s review process and will continue to undergo revisions informed by public engagement sessions and Board hearings,” she added. “This process is focused on ensuring Virginia has the best history standards and curriculum for our students.”


The Republican governor’s office also told Fox News Digital that the new drafts include information wiped by Northam’s administration, including a section saying “the Holocaust is an example of prejudice, discrimination, and genocide that targeted Jews and other groups.” Another nixed section by Northam discussed how the Bill of Rights outlines American civil liberties.

Youngkin’s office said the standards were not changed to exclude any historical and influential figures, and that King’s leadership and the heroic work of his fellow civil rights leaders are featured significantly across grade levels.

The Democrats have been claiming that the state’s revised education standards — which are amid the public comment period and not the final review — “ban” teaching King’s work to elementary school children.

“Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin unveils a new policy that will ban the teaching of Martin Luther King Jr. to elementary school students,” the far-left blue organization Occupy Democrats claimed. “[Retweet] TO EXPOSE GOVERNOR YOUNGKIN’S WHITEWASHING OF HISTORY!”

The Democratic Party of Virginia claimed that the “Youngkin administration changed their guidance to include MLK Day only after they got caught.”

“The [Virginia governor] is now trying to hide the fact that they tried to remove MLK from all elementary school curriculum including the mention of the MLK holiday,” Virginia Democrat Rep. Don Scott claimed while taking aim at former GOP Maine Governor Paul LePage.

“He must have gotten this idea campaigning in Maine with that overt racist Governor in Maine,” Scott continued. “The worst Gov ever.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin made education a centerpiece of his winning gubernatorial campaign.


Youngkin was elected to the Old Dominion governorship in 2021, taking down Democrat former Governor Terry McAuliffe, who was seeking to succeed Northam.

The Republican governor made education a centerpiece of his campaign, focusing on parental rights in education.