The governor of Alabama announced the resignation of a top education
official after a book deemed “woke” by her office was pulled from resource materials, news outlets report.
Barbara Cooper, Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education secretary, resigned effective immediately after a book containing a “woke agenda” was removed from pre-K educator resources, according to a statement from
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office on April 21, WTVY reported.
Ivey said in the statement that the book was brought to her attention
after its content was deemed not reflective of the beliefs of the people
of Alabama, , WTVY reported.
The book “invokes ideas for teachers that there are ‘larger systemic
forces that perpetuate systems of White privilege’ or that ‘the United
States is built on systemic and structural racism.’ Also included for 4- year-olds to learn is that ‘LGBTQIA+ need to hear and see messages that
promote equality, dignity and worth,’” according to the governor’s
statement, WAAY reported.
The governor thanked Cooper for her service but said she believed the
education program in Alabama should move “on its forward trajectory under
new leadership,” according to WRBL.
McClatchy News tried to reach Cooper through the education office by email
on Friday evening but had not received a reply.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children
Developmentally Appropriate Practice Book, 4th Edition, was described by
its author as a way to address “developmentally appropriate” content in a changing field of early childhood education, WAAY reported, and the book emphasized the importance of “social, cultural, and historical contexts of development.”
The governor referred to those goals as “woke concepts” that have nothing
to do with “proper’’ education and are divisive, WTVY reported.
“We want our children to be focused on the fundamentals, such as reading
and math,” the governor said in the statement, according to WTVY.
Alabama currently ranks 39th in reading and 40th in math in the nation
among fourth-grade students, according to a report from the National
Assessment of Education Progress, as reported by WHNT.
The governor announced an interim secretary for the Department of Early Childhood Education, and said concepts like those found in the training
book “have no place at any level of education in the state of Alabama and should not be taking away from the overall mission of improving
educational outcomes for students,” AL.com reported.
McClatchy News reached out to the governor’s office regarding the
statement and awaits a response.
Cooper was appointed to the secretary position in 2020, AL.com reported.
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