An underperforming elementary school in the Bay Area implemented a “Woke Kindergarten” initiative focused on “abolitionist education.” This program aims to empower teachers to dismantle barriers to learning by addressing racism and oppression. However, the school witnessed a decline in children’s test scores following its implementation.
Two years ago, Glassbrook Elementary School in Hayward signed a three-year, $250,000 contract with Woke Kindergarten. The aim was to enhance students’ performance by training educators to address learning obstacles such as oppression, racism, and white supremacy, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Woke Kindergarten describes itself as a “global, abolitionist early childhood ecosystem” that advocates “abolitionist early education and pro-black and queer and trans liberation” by training teachers how to use “abolitionist” educational concepts and curricula.
The company, which operates for profit, was established by Akiea Gross, a non-binary early educator who uses they/them pronouns. Gross describes themselves as “an abolitionist early educator, cultural organizer, and creator.” They are currently developing innovative approaches to resist, heal, liberate, and create through their educational philosophy, known as Woke Kindergarten.
However, after two years of implementing the Woke Kindergarten program, the test scores of Glassbrook students haven’t just failed to show significant improvement—they’ve actually dropped to unprecedented lows, according to the Chronicle.
Last spring, both English and math scores saw a decline of four percentage points, hitting record lows. Less than 4 percent of students demonstrated proficiency in math, while less than 12 percent were proficient in English.
The Hayward Unified School District did not respond immediately to a request for comment regarding its opinion on whether the $250,000 spent on the program was a worthwhile investment.
Hayward Unified School District Superintendent Jason Reinmann informed the Chronicle that the Woke Kindergarten program had received support from both parents and teachers at the Bay Area school.
Mr. Reinmann also mentioned that the program increased classroom attendance by almost 20 percent, indicating that this was more of a priority for the program than simply improving test scores.
However, several Glassbrook teachers have voiced concerns about the program being overly progressive. Teacher Tiger Craven-Neeley informed the Chronicle that he was informed one of the program’s main goals was to “disrupt whiteness” at the school.
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