Saturday 3 February 2024

Student Grades Get Even Worse After California School Drops $250,000 On ‘Woke Kindergarten’ Program

 An elementary school in California paid an organization called “Woke Kindergarten” $250,000 to train teachers to confront “white supremacy” and “racism” in the classroom, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Woke Kindergarten has been giving teachers at Glassbrook Elementary School in Hayward training sessions for two years and is funded through a federal program for assisting low-performing schools, according to the Chronicle. Test scores for students at the school have fallen under the program, which pushes anti-police, anti-capitalism and anti-Israel messages. 

Woke Kindergarten is founded on the idea of abolitionist education, Zeus Leonardo, a University of California Berkeley education professor, told the Chronicle. The idea is to make “politics part of the framework of teaching,” Leonardo told the Chronicle.

Several teachers at the school questioned the decision to use the program, saying the program is rooted in left-wing politics and activism, according to the Chronicle.

One teacher, Tiger Craven-Neeley, said he supports talking about racism in the classroom but was confused about one of the objectives set by the training to “disrupt whiteness” in the school, according to the Chronicle. He also questioned a trainer who used the phrase “so-called United States.”

Questioning the idea of “disrupting whiteness” got Craven-Neeley temporarily banned from training sessions, he told the Chronicle.

“What does that mean?” Craven-Neeley told the Chronicle. “I just want to know, what does that mean for a third-grade classroom?”

Another teacher, who requested anonymity, said the program offered only one perspective, and there was no tolerance for deviation. “It slowly became very apparent if you were a dissenting voice that it’s not what they wanted to hear,” the teacher told the Chronicle.

English and math scores at the school hit new lows in spring of 2023, with less than 4% of students proficient in math and slightly under 12% scoring at grade level in English, which was nearly a 4-percentage-point drop in each category, according to the Chronicle.

District officials defended the program when questioned and said it had increased attendance and decreased suspension rates, according to the Chronicle. The officials also said that the school was no longer on the state watch list, but the school is actually still on the list and had dropped even further.

The decision to hire ‘Woke Kindergarten” was approved by the school board and included the input of parents and teachers, Jason Reimann, superintendent of Hayward School District, told the Chronicle.

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