New History Standards of Learning Approved

Virginia Department of Education | April 20, 2023

(News Release) — The Virginia Board of Education today unanimously approved a sweeping revision of the commonwealth’s K-12 history and social science standards. The 2023 History and Social Science Standards of Learning place an increased emphasis on civics in all grades, have significantly increased the content knowledge for Virginia history — including the Readjuster Era — and have a broader focus on the contributions of all Americans, in particular African Americans, Indigenous Peoples and Asian Americans.

“The standards raise the commonwealth’s aspirations for history and social science instruction, while also restoring excellence, curiosity and excitement around teaching and learning history,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Coons said.

“I am confident these standards will meet the needs of Virginia’s children,” Board of Education President Dan Gecker said. “Are they perfect? Probably not. But they represent a balance between content knowledge and inquiry as well as the consensus of the board regarding what students should know about our history and institutions.”

“I want to thank President Gecker and the Board of Education for their thoughtful contributions throughout this process and their commitment to providing teachers and students with history and social science standards that prepare young people for thoughtful citizenship grounded in an understanding of our founding documents and history,” Coons said. “I want to assure our teachers that VDOE staff will soon begin developing the curriculum resources to support teachers as they plan for future implementation of the content in the new standards.”

“These standards embody Governor Glenn Youngkin’s commitment to teach all history — both the good and the bad,” said Secretary of Education Aimee Rogstad Guidera. “They are more robust and tell more Virginians’ stories thanks to the leadership of the state board and the valuable input over the past two years from educators, parents, students, historians, museums, experts and Virginians from across the commonwealth.”

The VDOE staff will soon begin working with educators across Virginia to create curriculum frameworks, free instructional tools, resources guides and support documents to teach the newly adopted standards.

The 2023 History and Social Science Standards of Learning as adopted today by the board are available on the VDOE website. Under the implementation timeline approved by the board, all history and social science instruction and state assessments will be based on the 2023 standards beginning with the 2025-2026 school year.