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There continues to be a lot of debate over curriculum in Virginia classrooms

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Michael Pope
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Virginia Education Association President James Fedderman speaks at a press conference on equity in Capitol Square Tuesday.

Education was a hot topic on the campaign trail last year. And, the issue remains at the forefront of a debate over what students should be learning in classrooms.

The word equity has become a fault line in Virginia schools. On one side of the debate are people who say they are concerned that the word has become code for equality of outcome. On the other side of the issue are people like Frank Callahan of the Virginia NAACP, who says state education officials have spent the last few years creating some excellent resources.

"The Virginia Department of Education has put out an excellent 50-something page document talking about Virginia's road back to equity," Callahan says. "And in that they express a tremendous amount of determination to recognize its responsibility to advance racial, social and economic equality in education throughout the commonwealth of Virginia."

That's a resource that might soon be purged from the department's website now that the state superintendent is recommending rescinding equity initiatives. James Fedderman at the Virginia Education Association says those resources need to remain available.

"I am so proud to announce today that the Virginia Education Association will now serve as a clearinghouse for the inequity training materials and resources that could be eliminated from the Virginia Department of Education's website in the coming days," Fedderman said during an event Tuesday.

During the General Assembly session, lawmakers considered a number of bills aimed at removing what some lawmakers call "divisive concepts" from the classroom. Those bills were unsuccessful, although the governor has wide authority to make changes at the Department of Education without seeking input from lawmakers.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.