RICHMOND (LifeSiteNews) — As Republican Glenn Youngkin prepares to take office as the next Governor of Virginia on January 15, some are expressing concern that his choice of education secretary may signal a weaker commitment to the concerns of conservative parents than the sentiment that carried him to victory.
Youngkin, the former CEO of the private equity firm Carlyle Group, defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in early November, riding a wave of discontent with COVID restrictions and leftist radicalism in public schools that also fueled a GOP takeover of the state House of Delegates.
In December, Youngkin announced the selection of Aimee Rogstad Guidera to serve as Virginia Secretary of Education, citing her as a “critical partner in restoring expectations of excellence; overseeing a record education budget to invest in teachers, facilities and special education; rolling out innovation lab and charter schools; and standing for a curriculum that prepares Virginia’s children for a dynamic future and removes politics from the classroom.”
The Daily Caller reports that in 2005, Guidera founded Data Quality Campaign (DQC), an organization that advocates for better anonymized collection of student data for use in crafting education policies, and was its CEO until 2018. Between 2008 and 2018, DQC received more than $25.8 million from the far-left Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Caller notes that the group’s 2014–2016 work was focused on protecting student privacy, in particular empowering parents to opt their kids out of third-party data collection. However, in 2017, under Guidera’s leadership, DQC also “supported two amendments in Connecticut that would have subverted a public school district from implementing” a law that “adds a layer of requirements to ensure student privacy.”
Since 2018, DQC has also begun lobbying for so-called “equitable education outcomes” (“equity” is a common buzzword for a range of left-wing “social justice” policies), including factoring race and gender into hiring decisions, though that work did not begin until after Guidera’s departure from the group.
Youngkin spokesman Devin O’Malley assured the Caller that Guidera “believes in protecting students’ privacy and leveraging data to empower parents, increase transparency, and drive accountability in the education system.” But her selection is not the first move of the governor-elect’s to raise conservative eyebrows.
In November, Youngkin disappointed supporters by announcing he would not try to stop localities from imposing COVID-19 vaccine or mask mandates on state residents. Conservatives were also suspicious at his hiring of Joshua Marin-Mora, who has promoted LGBT causes and themes on social media, including the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, as a top aide.