An education board member appointed by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin was blocked from official confirmation by Democrats in the Virginia Senate.
Suparna Dutta, an Indian immigrant who has been known to be a critic of progressive education policies, was voted off the Virginia Board of Education, purportedly due to being unqualified for the spot.
Dutta has been a vocal critic of equity-based admissions policies at the prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which has been accused of discriminating against Asian American applicants.
The decision to block her confirmation was made during a Senate meeting on Tuesday, following a discussion on the perceived qualifications and shortcomings of several people picked by the governor for state jobs.
Sen. Ghazala Hashmi (D, VA-10) accused Dutta of expressing the belief that “racism was not a factor in American history.”
The remark prompted a response from Sen. Steve Newman (R, VA-23), who stressed that Dutta was an advocate for ensuring that Asian American and other students were treated fairly.
The vote came a week after she engaged in a verbal spat with another board member over whether public schools should present socialism as “incompatible with democracy.”
“I thought people celebrated diversity. Whether it’s the diversity of thought, diversity of viewpoint, or diversity of any of the many characteristics?” Dutta told Fox News in an interview. “I’m flummoxed.”
The Senate vote also blocked the appointment of Health Commissioner Colin Greene and Parole Board member Steven Buck.
According to the senators who voted against them, Greene was not confirmed over comments he made downplaying the significance of racism as a driver of health disparities, while Buck was blocked for voting to grant parole in the shrinking number of cases that the new board has heard.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Governor Youngkin defended the qualifications of all three blocked appointees, calling the Democrats’ move “an appalling show of partisanship.” The governor went on to say that the Democrats were putting petty politics above the best interests of Virginia and that Virginians deserve better.
Stating her support for Dutta, Youngkin touted his appointee’s qualifications.
She is a mother and advocate for parents’ rights, she is an immigrant and an advocate for Asian American rights, she is an engineer and advocate for STEM in education. She is not only qualified, she epitomizes parental involvement in our schools and we need her voice on our Board of Education.