Skip to main content

Statement on BOE Feb. 2023 Meeting Decision

By 3 February 2023March 27th, 2023No Comments
Asian American Virginians hold up handmade signs that say, "NO January Standards, YES Collaborative Standards" and "Cite Your Sources" at the Virginia Board of Education meeting in Richmond, VA on Feb. 2, 2023.

Photo taken by @PiperSkip.

February 3, 2023
Media contact: Zowee Aquino ( / 757-842-0138)

Richmond, Virginia — Hamkae Center is disappointed by the Board’s decision to proceed with the Superintendent’s January 6th History & Social Sciences Standards of Learning (SOLs) revisions for first review. We are further outraged by comments made by some Board members suggesting that the 50+ people who testified in support of the Collaborative Standards do not represent everyday Virginians, or that the Board’s actions to-date with the SOLs reflect what the people want. If the Board’s actions actually reflected the public, the Board would have adopted the Collaborative Standards yesterday.

Let’s call out the hypocrisy more clearly:

First – Superintendent Balow continues to act with neither transparency, public accountability, or honesty. To this day, we still do not have a full list of who the Superintendent consulted to draft the unacceptable November 2022 and January 2023 SOLs. In addition, under Supt. Balow’s leadership, the Department of Education lied to the public about who they consulted for the January SOLs. Some of the entities that the DOE said were consulted have publicly stated that they, in fact, weren’t consulted at all.

Second – the Board, with the Administration’s support, had a chance last year to move forward a set of standards that had already undergone two years of public feedback by 5,000+ Virginians for first review. Instead, Supt. Balow orchestrated a series of unnecessary delays so she could work in secrecy with politically-conservative groups and individuals (many of whom are out-of-state actors) to rewrite the standards completely. This is the draft that the Board prioritized instead.

So, at public townhalls scheduled for March, Virginians are going to call out the unacceptable mess that is the January 2023 standards. At the beginning of this process, Asian American & Pacific Islander community members asked for more comprehensive AAPI content and meaningful contextualization of our histories. This is not what we received yesterday. And, until we get to History & Social Sciences SOLs that truthfully recognize the past and integrate today’s diversity to prepare young minds to think critically for the future, we continue to urge the Department of Education to stop consulting with right-wing groups and individuals. We hope that Superintendent Balow and the Board members who voted “yes” to the January Standards hear our message loud and clear. 

Hamkae Center is a community-based organization with a mission to organize Asian Americans in Virginia to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. Alongside its community members, Hamkae Center works to build a future in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and all marginalized communities can fully participate in U.S. society and work together as makers of lasting change.
We are the Virginia affiliate of the NAKASEC Network. Other members include HANA Center (Illinois), Woori Center (Pennsylvania), MinKwon Center for Community Action (New York), and Woori Juntos (Texas).