If Republican business executive Glenn Youngkin prevails over former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial election Tuesday, his stance on public education may be partially responsible. Polls have suggested that Youngkin built momentum among White suburban swing voters by addressing an issue that is not typically front and center in state politics: the curriculum in Virginia’s public schools.
The Republican candidate made headlines when he criticized McAuliffe’s 2016 veto of a bill that would have permitted parents to opt out of allowing their children to study texts considered sexually explicit (one of the books that inspired the bill was Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”). “You believe school systems should tell children what to do,” Youngkin told McAuliffe. “I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”