A San Francisco-area school district is under fire for spending $250,000 of federal funds training teachers to confront white supremacy and racism in school despite test scores reaching new lows. Woke Kindergarten, “a global, abolitionist early childhood ecosystem,” was introduced at Glassbook Elementary two years ago to “confront legacies of racism and bias in schools.”
According to San Francisco Chronicle, the program, developed by non-binary abolitionist early educator Akiea “Ki” Gross, aims to support “children, families, educators and organizations in their commitment to abolitionist early education and pro-black and queer and trans liberation.”
The three-year program was approved by the Hayward District School Board, with the support of parents, teachers, and the school community, and intended to improve class attendance and boost achievement. While attendance saw a slight increase district-wide, educators are expressing concerns that Woke Kindergarten isn’t benefiting the students after English and math scores dropped 4% last spring.
Tiger Craven-Neeley, a “gay moderate” teacher at Glassbook, explained that Woke Kindergarten was “confusing and rigid.” Craven-Neely revealed he had been temporarily suspended from a session for asking the instructor to clarify what they meant by claiming the main objective of the session was to “disrupt whiteness” in school.
“I just want to know, what does that mean for a third-grade classroom?” asked Craven-Neeley.
Another educator, who requested anonymity, said that Woke Kindergarten did not tolerate asking questions and that many instructors did not find the training beneficial.
“It slowly became very apparent if you were a dissenting voice that it’s not what they wanted to hear,” explained the teacher. “Our reading scores are low. That [money] could have gotten us a reading interventionist.”
News of the failure of Woke Kindergarten did not come as a surprise to many, with social media commentators mocking the outcome of the program.
“Teaching kids to hate each other doesn’t increase test scores? Who would have thought,” sarcastically wrote on X (formerly Twitter) user by the handle @JohnSmi09263783.
Others in the replies shared screenshots from the Woke Kindergarten website and Instagram and some of its offerings.
“Are people finally getting past the denial/ deceptive phase of ‘It’s not happening’/ ‘right wing conspiracy’?” responded another X user.
Despite being named the lowest-performing school in the district last year, Hayward Superintendent Jason Reiman said the program intended to help “students feel safe and whole,” adding that Woke Kindergarten wasn’t “hired to improve literacy and math scores.”
Though Reiman did state: “I get that it’s more money than we would have liked to have spent.”