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Elementary school’s test scores plummet after using ‘Woke Kindergarten’ program

There’s a group out there called “Woke Kindergarten” which, like many other (but less colorfully named) organizations gets paid to “train” our schools’ teachers on the evils of white supremacy, racism, oppression, etc.

Glassbrook Elementary School near San Francisco shelled out $250,000 in federal funds to Woke Kindergarten allegedly so it could “boost student achievement.”

But two years later, student test scores have gone down according to the San Francisco Chronicle“less than 4% of students proficient in math and just under 12% at grade level in English.”

According to its website, Woke Kindergarten “support[s] children, families, educators and organizations in their commitment to abolitionist early education and pro-black and queer and trans liberation.”

Hayward Unified School District defended the quarter million-dollar expenditure, saying Woke Kindergarten “did what it was hired to do” — but mentioned things like “improve attendance” and lower suspension rates.

The district also claimed the group’s efforts got the school off the state’s “watch list,” but the Chronicle had to inform Hayward not only is this not true, Glassbrook actually “had dropped to a lower level.”

Programs like Woke Kindergarten’s are based on the belief “that certain things can’t be reformed, tweaked or shifted, because they are inherently problematic or oppressive,” said UC Berkeley professor Zeus Leonardo.

“It’s not about indoctrinating or imposing politics,” Leonardo said, “but making politics part of the framework of teaching.”

MORE: School district’s English as Second Language training zeroes in on … oppression

(In 2007, Leonardo told an audience that “to abolish whiteness is to abolish white people.” He noted such is “very uncomfortable perhaps, but it asks about our definitions of what race is and what racial justice might mean.” In 2021, he said people are “born human,” but “little by little, they have to be abused into becoming white humans. This abuse is sometimes physical … such as being bullied into whiteness.”)

Glassbrook teacher Tiger Craven-Neeley, a white “gay moderate,” noted his issues with Woke Kindergarten:

He said he was told a primary objective was to “disrupt whiteness” in the school — and that the sessions were “not a place to express white guilt.” He said he questioned a trainer who used the phrasing “so-called United States,” as well as lessons available on the organization’s web site offering “Lil’ Comrade Convos,” or positing a world without police, money or landlords.

Craven-Neeley […] said he wasn’t trying to be difficult when he asked for clarification about disrupting whiteness. “What does that mean?” he said, adding that such questions got him at least temporarily banned from future training sessions. “I just want to know, what does that mean for a third-grade classroom?” …

Woke Kindergarten “had a lot of good things. I think race should be addressed. Children should be aware if they are being discriminated against,” he said. “But as a teacher of Hayward Unified, I shouldn’t have to get on the bandwagon of defunding police or insulting our country.”

Another teacher said “it slowly became very apparent if you were a dissenting voice that it’s not what they wanted to hear.”

Woke Kindergarten was founded in 2020 by Akiea “Ki” Gross, a so-called “abolitionist early educator, cultural organizer and creator currently innovating ways to resist, heal, liberate and create with their pedagogy.”

Gross recently posted a video on Instagram saying “I believe Israel has no right to exist. I believe the United States has no right to exist. I believe every settler colony who has committed genocide against native peoples has no right to exist.”

Hayward Superintendent Jason Reimann said Woke Kindergarten was hired not for “its politics” or “to improve literacy and math scores.” He reiterated “its work in restorative practices [and] helping eliminate suspensions and removals from classrooms.”

MORE: The cult that is anti-whiteness

IMAGE: Woke Kindergarten/X

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.