Out With CRT, In With Google? Virginia GOP Governor Embraces New School Deal With Big Tech!

Out With CRT, In With Google? Virginia GOP Governor Embraces New School Deal With Big Tech!

Gov. Glenn Youngkin thinks that Google’s $300 million investment in Virginia this year would help him advance one of his key goals in the state’s stalled budget: computer science education in Virginia schools.

While touring the new Virginia headquarters of the internet giant, Youngkin bragged about an investment that he said would not only bring new data centers, offices, and jobs to the state, but also “make a statement about education.”

“Our goal is to make Virginia the best location to live, work, and raise a family,” he stated. “The key to everything is education.”

Since 2005, Google has had a presence in Northern Virginia, with 480 employees based here and at data facilities in adjacent Loudoun County. To that end, the business has given CodeVA, a Richmond-based advocacy group for teaching computer science, a $250,000 donation to build a network of computer science lab schools across the state.

Founded in 2013 by Rebecca and Chris Dovi, CodeRVA is a high school magnet for computer science education in the Richmond region that Google internet guru Vinton Cerf has described as “incredibly successful” as a way to provide “equitable access” to education in computer sciences for students of all backgrounds.

“Our kids are not only college ready but career ready,” Youngkin added, referring to the partnership between Virginia’s 23 community colleges and five higher education centers with Google to build programs to give professional credentials in data analytics and other IT sectors.

NOTE: I’ve always had my suspicions about Youngkin even though others just gave him the green light.

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According to Google’s Cerf, vice president and “chief internet evangelist,” “Virginia is a strong illustration of the work we’re doing across the United States.”

Using the grant money will allow CodeVA to expand its collaborations with the state, three higher education research institutes in southern and southwest Virginia, and the Chesterfield, Loudoun, and Stafford counties, as well as the cities of Harrisonburg and Suffolk, respectively.

“We’re extremely thrilled about it,” says CodeVA Executive Director Chris Dovi, a former Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter whose wife was a computer science instructor in Hanover County before they co-founded the nonprofit. When it comes to extension of the hub network, “We’re looking at it largely as a planning tool.”

After the event, he said, “We’re extremely enthusiastic about the potential to engage with Google on curriculum development and extended computer science resources for all instructors, particularly for those who are already teaching computer science,” he continued.

An initial $150 million investment in a network of laboratory schools proposed by Youngkin with colleges and universities has encouraged him about the possible collaboration between this effort and that network.

The governor also announced that Virginia has joined a National Governors Association agreement for K-12 computer science education, saying, “One of the biggest possibilities is for us to train the workforce.”

There is a budget battle between the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and the Democratic-run Senate, which has been unwilling to shift money from K-12 education to schools that would operate outside of regular public school oversight.

Youngkin leveraged Google’s announcement to increase pressure on the General Assembly to secure a budget settlement that includes his demands for educational reform and tax savings. On April 27th, the assembly will reassemble for the so-called “veto” session, which is meant to address his vetoes and revisions to legislation passed in the regular session that ended on March 12th. He stated he hopes for a resolution by then.

His final words were, “The General Assembly ought to help us.” It’s time to release our budget.

 

 

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