Teachers at a low-performing elementary school in San Francisco are speaking out against the Hayward Unified School District for their questionable use of federal funds – $250,000, to be exact. The district used the money to hire ‘Woke Kindergarten’ roughly two years ago, but they have yet to see a return on their investment as test scores continue to drop.

What Is Woke Kindergarten?

Woke Kindergarten is a for-profit organization founded by Akiea ‘Ki’ Gross – an “abolitionist early educator, cultural organizer, and creator,’ according to the company’s website. They hope to teach young people all around the world the importance of abolition and liberation for all groups of people.

Source: Shutterstock/Nattakorn Maneerat

The company describes itself as a ‘global, abolitionist early childhood ecosystem and visionary creative portal’ that supports ‘children, families, educators, and organizations in their commitment to abolitionist early education and pro-black and queer and trans liberation.’ It’s unclear how many communities they’ve worked with, but we do know of one.

Glassbrook Spends $250,000 Of Federal Funds

Glassbrook Elementary, a K-6 elementary school in San Francisco, hired Woke Kindergarten two years ago – a move that cost the Hayward Unified School District $250,000. The school was already one of the worst-performing schools in the state (in the country, even), so they were desperate for help.

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At the time, less than 16% of Glassbrook students could read at their grade level, and less than 8% were proficient in math. Now two years later, those numbers have actually dropped – with less than 12% of the students reading at their grade level and less than 4% being proficient in math.

Superintendent Defends Decision

Jason Reimann, the school district’s superintendent, defended the decision to hire Woke Kindergarten in a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle – arguing that they hired the company to boost student attendance, not test scores. And to that effect, Woke Kindergarten has helped dramatically.

Source: Hayward Unified School District

One report found that chronic absenteeism dropped from 61% down to 44% after the first year – though it didn’t specify what happened in the year since. Of course, that raises another issue – if kids are more present at school, why is their performance dropping? Better yet, what can they do to fix it?

Reimann Admits They Spent More Than They ‘Would Have Liked’

In the interview, Reimann admits the school spent a lot more than they would’ve liked, but added that the hire was approved by the board and supported by both parents and teachers. He hopes to learn from this so they can continue taking steps to better their community.

Source: Hayward Unified School District

“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 said. “We are in favor 100% of abolishing systems of oppression where they hold our students back. What I do believe is we should pick providers based on their work and how effective they are.”

Third-Grade Teacher Speaks Out

Teachers at Glassbrook Elementary have had enough – including Tiger Craven-Neeley, a third-grade teacher who spoke out about the decision at a recent board of education meeting. He expressed his ‘disappointment’ over the $250,000 the district spent ‘to bring abolitionist training to our school’ – arguing that ‘some of the content’ is ‘worthy,’ but he couldn’t wrap his head around the cost.

Source: X/glassbrooknews

“I just can’t help but think where else that money could have been spent. A great percentage of our students at our school are reading at below grade level. I just can’t help with thinking how much reading intervention, tutors, staff could have been paid for using that money,” Tiger told the Chronicle.

Craven-Neeley Describes Some Of His Concerns With Woke Kindergarten

It wasn’t just the cost of it all – Craven-Neeley was having a hard time understanding some of Work Kindergarten’s methods of teaching, as well as some of the language they used. At one point, they told him to ‘disrupt Whiteness’ in the classroom – and he didn’t know what they meant.

Source: Instagram

“What does that mean? I just want to know, what does that mean for a third-grade classroom?” Craven-Neeley explained. But when he asked for clarification, they temporarily banned him from their sessions. He also complained that they referred to this country as the ‘so-called United States.’

Craven-Neeley Isn’t The Only Teacher Who Feels This Way

It appears Craven-Neeley isn’t alone in his criticism of Woke Kindergarten – though he’s the only one who identified himself. Another teacher, who wanted to remain anonymous, feels like the money spent on the initiative could’ve been used elsewhere – such as hiring a reading interventionist.

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The anonymous teacher also criticized Woke Kindergarten’s approach to teaching. “It slowly became very apparent if you were a dissenting voice that it’s not what they wanted to hear,” they said – something Tiger Craven-Neeley (and apparently many others) can attest to.

Woke Wonderings, Woke Word Of The Day, And More

Woke Kindergarten’s official website lists some of the ‘creative portals’ available to students, teachers, and parents – such as ‘woke wonderings,’ where they ask students unconventional questions rooted in liberatory thought. “If we challenge the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, how might we transfer power back to the people?” reads one ‘wondering.’

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They also have a ‘woke word of the day,’ which highlights words like ceasefire, abolish, strike, protest, anti-racist, and manifestation. While most teachers at Glassbrook believe in talking about racism in the classroom, a lot of them felt like Woke Kindergarten took things a little too far.

Founder of ‘Woke Kindergarten’ Couldn’t Be Reached

In the days since the report came out, many media outlets have been reaching out to Woke Kindergarten and the school district – hoping to gain some clarification regarding their practices, beliefs, and approach to teaching young students.

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Unfortunately, they’ve been hard to reach. Fox News Digital tried sending an email to Woke Kindergarten, but all they got in return was an automatic reply – and the same thing happened to NewsNation when they reached out. They both reached out to the superintendent, but neither got an answer.