Democrat Terry McAuliffe, nosediving in the polls against Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin, is making his final appeal to voters using divisive racial politics. The race for Virginia governor has focused intensely on education, as Youngkin has leaned in to the concerns of parents protesting local school boards, while McAuliffe’s campaign has comparatively dismissed the issues raised as conspiracy theories or racist.
McAuliffe attempted to address education policy during a speech on Sunday, but opted to do so among racial lines. The former governor accused his opponent of campaigning on a “racial dog whistle,” then un-ironically went on to complain that there are too many white teachers in Virginia.
“Fifty percent of the students at Virginia schools K-12, 50 percent are students of color. And yet 80 percent of teachers are white,” McAuliffe said. “We all know what we have to do in a school to make everybody feel comfortable in school.”
McAuliffe has been busted for his hypocrisy on schools before. He campaigns against school choice but his wife chaired the trustee board at the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia. He lauds the Virginia public school system, but sent his children to private schools, including three who attended the Potomac School.
My friend and radio cohost Larry O’Connor raised an interesting point on Twitter about McAuliffe’s comments on racial diversity: what was the racial makeup of the teachers at the Potomac School, where McAuliffe sent the majority of his children?
I decided to do some digging. First, I reached out to a press contact at the Potomac School to ask if they had statistics available on the diversity of their faculty. They did not respond in time for my deadline.
Then I spent a couple of hours going through the Potomac School faculty page and counting the number of white versus non-white faculty members. This was admittedly not a perfectly scientific experiment; there may be faculty members who appear white but are actually persons of color, and not every faculty member had a photo available. To try to mitigate these issues, I counted faculty members whose race couldn’t be determined with certainty as non-white. I also did not include faculty members without a photo in my total count.
The results? There were 177 total faculty members, 143 of them were white, and 34 of them were non-white (again, give or take a few). That means 80.8 percent of Potomac School faculty members are white and 19.2 percent are non-white.
I went ahead and did the same breakdown at Gonzaga College High School, where McAuliffe sent one of his sons, for strictly teaching staff. A quick count revealed that there are 76 white teachers to just five non-white teachers. That comes out to 93.8 percent white and just 6.2 percent non-white.
That means McAuliffe sent his children to schools that had even higher ratios of white to non-white teachers than the one he bemoaned in his Sunday speech. Has he ever raised concerns about the lack of diversity among faculty at the school his children attended? Did his wife address this issue while she served on the board of trustees at Potomac? Or, as I suspect, does McAuliffe only care about the racial makeup of teachers when he can use it to divide people politically?