Posted on February 6, 2024

School Where Just 4% of Students Are Proficient in Math and 12% in English Spent $250K on ‘Woke Kindergarten’ Program

Alice Wright, Daily Mail, February 4, 2024

A Bay Area Elementary School has spent $250,000 on a ‘Woke Kindergarten’ program only to see its student’s literacy and numeracy rates plunge.

The ‘Woke Kindergarten’ program states its mission as an ‘abolitionist early learning ecosystem’ that trains teachers to uproot white supremacy, disrupt racism and oppression which are barriers to learning.

After spending the federal money on the program Glassbrook Elementary in Hayward saw numeracy among its 474 students fall to a new low of just 4 percent and literacy just 12 percent.

The scores, recorded last Spring two years into Woke Kindergarten’s three-year contract, represent a 4 percentage decline in each category.

The school also remains on the state’s lowest-performing level on the Comprehensive School Improvement list and has a lower rate of attendance than before the program was introduced.

Woke Kindergarten’s philosophy of ‘abolitionist education’ aimed at elementary school aged kids centers around the idea that the education system as it is, steeped in racism and other oppressive structures, cannot be reformed.

Instead it advocates ‘a kind of starting over,’ Zeus Leonardo, UC Berkeley education professor told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Woke Kindergarten is flagrant about its political leanings, with its social media pages littered with graphics about abolishing the police, anti-Israel messages and even advocating the abolition of money.

One such lesson the program offers to elementary school children includes the ‘wondering’ where students are asked to consider ‘if the United States defunded the Israeli military, how could this money be used to rebuild Palestine?’

Woke Kindergarten also teaches the kids a ‘woke word of the day’ such as ‘ceasefire’ in order to educate them with ‘language of the resistance … to introduce children to liberatory vocabulary in a way that they can easily digest, understand and most importantly, use in their critiques of the system.’

The for-profit company was founded by non-binary early educator Akiea ‘Ki’ Gross, who uses they/them pronouns.

Gross has far-left views that include imagining a world ‘free of of the US empire and free of Israel’ which they have previously referred to as a ‘made-up place’.

In an Instagram post defining the word ceasefire they said: ‘One place that people are demanding a permanent ceasefire for is in Palestine because they are being occupied, or controlled, by a made up place called Israel that has settlers called Zionist who are harming and killing the Palestinian people who have always live on the land.’

‘I am anti-Israel, I am pro-Palestine’ Gross posted on the Woke Kindergarten Instagram account on Saturday.

‘I believe Israel has no right to exist. I believe the United States has no right to exist’ they explained.

‘These people keep coming for me. I am pro humanity’ they added.

Some Glassbrook teachers, including Tiger Craven-Neeley, have raised concerns about the program and use of the funds designed to help some of the country’s lowest performing schools.

Craven-Neeley, a white gay man, told the Chronicle he has been banned from the Woke Kindergarten training sessions for daring to ask an unidentified trainer from the program what ‘disrupting whiteness’ meant after it was listed as one of the program’s primary objectives.

The teacher said he questioned a trainer who used the phrase ‘so-called United States,’ as well as lessons available on the organization’s web site offering ‘Lil’ Comrade Convos,’ or ‘wonderings’ about a world without police, money or landlords.

‘I just want to know, what does that mean for a third-grade classroom?’ he told the Chronicle.

Woke Kindergarten ‘had a lot of good things. I think race should be addressed. Children should be aware if they are being discriminated against,’ Craven-Neely explained.

‘But as a teacher of Hayward Unified, I shouldn’t have to get on the bandwagon of defunding police or insulting our country’ he added.

‘It slowly became very apparent if you were a dissenting voice that it’s not what they wanted to hear,’ another teacher told the publication.

‘Our reading scores are low,’ they said.

Adding: ‘That could have gotten us a reading interventionist.’

Hayward Superintendent Jason Reimann defended the school’s decision to hire Woke Kindergarten, telling the Chronicle parents, teachers and staff identified the provider as a means to boost student achievement by improving attendance.

‘We are in favor 100% of abolishing systems of oppression where they hold our students back,’ he said.

‘What I do believe is we should pick providers based on their work and how effective they are.’

Reimann said Woke Kindergarten wasn’t hired to improve literacy and math scores, but that ‘helping students feel safe and whole is part and parcel of academic achievement.’

‘I get that it’s more money than we would have liked to have spent’ he conceded.

Gross and Woke Kindergarten previously hit headlines when a school district in Virginia posted – and then deleted – information on their website telling students to listen to an audiobook by Gross suggesting they should not feel safe around police.

Among recommended readings, writing goals and school standards on Fairfax Community Public Schools’ (FCPS) website, they listed Woke Kindergarten’s audiobook Safe as a summer resource for second graders ahead of the 2021-2022 school year.

A video of the audiobook started with Gross’s narration saying ‘we all deserve to feel safe.’

Towards the end of the video they said: ‘I feel safe when there are no police.’