News & Politics

McAuliffe Calls for Diversity Hiring Programs for Virginia's Teachers

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

We’re just one day away from the gubernatorial election, and Democrat Terry McAuliffe has called for a program to diversify the state’s teacher base — a move that could come across to some as tone-deaf and to others as a crass move to gain momentum at the homestretch of the race.

Fox News reports that McAuliffe announced a plan this weekend to attract and hire more minority teachers:

“We got to work hard to diversify our teacher base,” McAuliffe said at a campaign event in Manassas Sunday.

“Fifty percent of our students are students of color, 80% of the teachers are White, so what I’m going to do for you, we’ll be the first state in America,” he continued. “If you go teach in Virginia for five years in a high-demand area — that could be geographic, it could be course work — we will pay room, board, tuition, any college, any university, or any HBCU here in Virginia.”

Education has become the top issue in the campaign, with parental involvement taking center stage. McAuliffe has come under fire, and rightly so, for his comments that parents shouldn’t have a say in their kids’ education — and even though McAuliffe claims that his opponent Glenn Youngkin has taken those comments out of context, McAuliffe has made the statement often enough for the accusations to stick pretty easily.

Fox News did ask specifically whether McAuliffe is calling for racial quotas, but they didn’t get an answer:

The McAuliffe campaign did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the issue. The campaign did not clarify whether McAuliffe supports racial quotas for teachers. His campaign platform aims to “address modern-day segregation in our schools” and aims to “cultivate the next generation of highly qualified and diverse educators.”

There’s nothing wrong with seeking a more diverse workforce. Teachers who look like the students they’re teaching can inspire the kids in unique ways. But we’ve seen time and time again how these government-mandated diversity programs fail and often swing the pendulum too far in the other direction.

Related: Is It All Over for Terry McAuliffe?

In light of the spotlight on the problems in Virginia’s schools — Loudoun County is indicative of those issues, even if it’s an extreme example — McAuliffe’s call for greater teacher diversity is a little bit tone-deaf. Schools in the Commonwealth have much more pressing issues than whether the proportion of minority teachers matches the proportion of minority students. Wokeness has run amuck in Virginia’s schools and parents are livid, but Terry McAuliffe wants to shut them out. That’s a far bigger issue than teacher diversity.

At its worst, McAuliffe’s call for some sort of teacher diversity program comes across as crass pandering on the eve of the election. As polls increasingly favor Youngkin by a slight margin, McAuliffe’s announcement, however vague, of a commitment to recruiting more minority teachers sounds like a somewhat desperate plea to garner minority votes.

Who knows? Maybe McAuliffe is a true believer in whatever diversity policies he wants to pursue in Virginia’s schools. Or perhaps he’s just a typical politician looking to suck up to minorities. He could be both. No matter what his motives are, McAuliffe has added another wrinkle to the fascinating governor’s race in Virginia. We won’t know until tomorrow whether it pays off for him.