The state Board of Education is seeking public comment as it considers a series of edits to the commonwealth’s history standards recommended by the Commission on African American History Education. The edits, which will be considered by the board on October 15, would revise the board’s current history curriculum framework documents, and would be followed by yearlong review of the 2015 History and Social Science Standards of Learning that will culminate with the adoption of new history standards in 2022.
“The Board of Education is considering these changes as it seeks to ensure that every Virginia student develops a more comprehensive understanding of how the experiences and voices of African Americans shaped the state and nation we know today,” Board of Education President Daniel Gecker said. “The board invites and welcomes public input on these proposed changes in advance of this important decision.”
The Commission on African American History Education — established by Governor Ralph Northam in 2019 — released its final report on August 31. Following a review of the report by Virginia Department of Education instructional staff, Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane recommended that the Board of Education consider a two-step process to evaluate and implement of the commission’s recommendations.
The first step — which is on the board’s October 15 agenda for consideration — is a series of proposed edits to the current curriculum frameworks for grades K-2, Virginia Studies, U.S. History to 1865, U.S. History 1865 to the Present, and Virginia and U.S. History. Curriculum frameworks detail the essential knowledge and skills students must attain to meet the Standards of Learning for each grade level and course.
The second step is for the Board of Education to consider commission recommendations requiring the introduction of new content and areas of study during a comprehensive review of the History and Social Science SOL scheduled to begin in January 2021. The General Assembly requires the board to review and revise standards in all content areas at least once every seven years.
The proposed edits to the curriculum frameworks and related documents are available on the VDOE website (Item H and attachments A-E). The public is invited to submit written comments to the board at BOE@doe.virginia.gov. Comments received by 5 p.m. Tuesday, October 13 will be available online prior to the board’s October 15 meeting. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. and will be live-streamed on the VDOE YouTube Channel.