Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has forced out the state’s education director over a teacher training book she called “woke.”
Barbara Cooper resigned from her post as director of the Alabama
Department of Early Childhood Education this week after Ivey took issue
with a book of guidance Cooper suggested for Pre-K teachers in the state.
An Ivey spokesperson told The Associated Press the book is the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Developmentally Appropriate Practice Book, 4th edition. That’s a textbook intended for teachers, including instructions on how to best teach students through age
NAEYC is a nationally accredited education association, and Cooper sits on
the organization’s board.
The governor’s office said the book teaches “woke concepts” including acknowledgement of structural racism, white privilege, and the existence
of LGBTQ identities.
“The education of Alabama’s children is my top priority as governor, and
there is absolutely no room to distract or take away from this mission.
Let me be crystal clear: Woke concepts that have zero to do with a proper education and that are divisive at the core have no place in Alabama
classrooms at any age level, let alone with our youngest learners,” Ivey
said in a statement.
The book instructs teachers to be aware of the issues when teaching, but
does not instruct them to teach students about the concepts directly,
according to an Alabama Reflector analysis of the book’s contents.
Ivey’s criticism of the book makes Alabama the latest state where
politicians have influenced curriculums, claiming that some teaching
concepts are “woke.”
Last year, Florida implemented the “Don’t Say Gay” teaching bill which prevented the discussion of “sexual conduct,” which includes gender
identity and other LGBTQ issues, in school through third grade. This week,
that measure was expanded to all K-12 schools in the state.
The Hill has reached out to Ivey’s office for comment.
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