‘Woke Kindergarten’ Turns Hayward Unified Into a Punch Line

It sounds a bit like parody – a new pedagogy, for children as young as four years old, to discuss "abolitionist resistance" and "confront white supremacy." The creator, a social activist who has stated that America “has no right to exist.”

But it’s not parody, nor is it some sort of right-wing fever dream. It’s an actual program at Glassbrook Elementary, purchased by the Hayward Unified School District for $250,000.

Woke Kindergarten doesn't seem to have improved student achievement or test scores at Glassbrook. Literacy rates are in the tank. English and math scores dropped to new lows last spring. Meanwhile, John Muir Elementary in the San Francisco Unified School District has been able to dramatically improve acores by focusing on math and reading.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Jill Tucker recently sat down with Hayward’s superintendent to discuss the controversial curriculum. 

Reimann told Tucker that the decision to hire Woke Kindergarten two years ago wasn’t about politics. A cursory look at the organization's website makes that hard to believe. Lesson plans and “wonderings” are centered around subjects like the elimination of international borders, “the prison industrial complex,” and whether the U.S. should stop sending aid to Israel and use the money to “rebuild Palestine.” One section is titled “lil’ comrade convos.” There’s also a section for ‘woke words of the day,’ which include “strike,” “ceasefire” and “protest.” The purpose, according to the website, is to get students familiar with the “language of the resistance.”

Educators who spoke with the Chronicle said the overt politicization made them uncomfortable. Glassbrook teacher Tiger Craven-Neeley was told the purpose of the program was to “disrupt whiteness.” He wishes the money had been spent helping kids learn to read.

Reimann stands by the program, saying it was really an effort to reduce chronic absenteeism. Glassbrook’s absenteeism rates did drop last year, but that was a trend seen districtwide. 

One thing the Woke Kindergarten program has managed to do is put the debate over Critical Race Theory back in the spotlight. Conservatives are taking a victory lap. As one X user wrote: “Remember like two or three years ago when we were told that DEI and CRT aren’t being taught in elementary or grade schools because ‘it’s just a theory’ and now there’s orgs called Woke Kindergarten just out in the open raking in $$.”


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