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'Woke Kindergarten’ Is Why Parents Need to Know

February 6, 2024

A is for Abolishing the Police. D is for Dismantling Respectability Politics. G is for Gender Identity.

Such lessons may sound absurd, but they’re not far off from what young children might be receiving at Glassbrook Elementary School in Hayward, California. The San Francisco Chronicle reported recently that Glassbrook is spending $250,000 in federal grant money—taxpayer funds—for teacher training sessions run by Woke Kindergarten, a for-profit organization that “[supports] children, families, educators and organizations in their commitment to abolitionist early education and pro-black and queer and trans liberation.”

The Woke Kindergarten lessons are radicalizing kids even as academic achievement drops even further at the school. And they highlight the pressing need for Goldwater’s policy solution to radical politics in the classroom: a powerful Academic Transparency reform that shines a light on what children are learning in public schools.

Woke Kindergarten advises teachers to pose “wonderings” for students, such as, “If the United States defunded the Israeli military, how could this money be used to rebuild Palestine?” The organization offers a “woke word of the day,” including words like “strike,” “ceasefire,” and “protest,” which students can “use in their critiques of the system.”

Akiea “Ki” Gross, founder of Woke Kindergarten, summed up the wokeisms in a video posted to the Woke Kindergarten TikTok: “I am anti-Israel…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, against indigenous people has no right to exist.”

Glassbrook hired Woke Kindergarten two years ago with a taxpayer-funded federal grant intended to increase student achievement at the worst-performing schools in the nation. Since then, test scores at Glassbrook have fallen. The latest results indicate that less than 4% of students are proficient in math. Less than 12% of students are at grade level in English.

Your kid can’t read, but at least he gets to ponder the important question, “If we abolished money, how could people get the most important things they need?” (Woke Kindergarten should consider practicing what it preaches, as it was all too willing to accept a quarter of a million dollars in real taxpayer money.)

The Woke Kindergarten fiasco is just the latest example of schools adopting radical teaching agendas that take time away from developing basic skills in reading, writing, and math. When parents seek to hold schools accountable by asking to review teaching materials, school districts often demand thousands of dollars in fees to retrieve the requested documents. Schools leave parents in the dark about what their children are learning.

But there’s a way to combat radical indoctrination in schools: the Goldwater Institute’s landmark Academic Transparency reform, which brings much-needed sunlight into the classroom in a way that doesn’t burden school districts and teachers. Academic Transparency requires a school district to post a list of all instructional materials (except tests and other assessments) on its publicly available website—a procedure that would save time and money for parents and school districts alike. Parents would no longer need to submit formal public records requests to understand what their children are doing in the classroom. School districts would avoid costs for finding and reproducing documents. Furthermore, the online listing of materials would save teachers’ time, as they could consult this list instead of spending hours searching for materials across the entire internet.

Parents deserve to know what their students are learning, especially when schools decide to spend valuable instructional time on radical agendas like police abolition and dismantling capitalism. If your child’s school uses Woke Kindergarten materials in the classroom, Academic Transparency would require the school to disclose this decision on its website. All states should move quickly to arm parents with this information so that they can hold our schools accountable and promote real educational excellence for all students.

Read more about our Academic Transparency reform here. And purchase our new children’s book A Is for the American Dream, which teaches kids about the foundational principles of our constitutional republic, here.

Tim Minella is a Senior Fellow at the Goldwater Institute’s Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy.



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