Alabama Takes the Torch in the ‘Anti-Woke’ Crusade: Dumps Educational Resources Worth $16K!

The ongoing political theatre around the term “woke” has witnessed its newest act in the state of Alabama. The Alabama Department of Education, in what seems like a knee-jerk reaction to the culture wars, recently demolished $16,500 worth of invaluable training materials. These manuals were designed to provide early education teachers with guidance on addressing matters of systemic racism and LGBTQ families in their classrooms.

The decision was mandated by Alabama’s Republican Governor, Kay Ivey. The irony? These materials were dubbed as being “woke”. This word, which was once an emblem of awareness regarding social injustices, has now been co-opted by conservatives nationwide, making it the latest weapon in their arsenal against progressive public education.

Let’s dig a little deeper. The guidebook, titled “Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Education”, was crafted by the esteemed National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). It had been endorsed and bought by Barbara Cooper, who, until recently, led the state’s Department of Childhood Education.

Here’s where it gets spicy: a state legislator took issue with the discussions of white privilege, systemic racism, and LGBTQ families present in the guide. When this reached Ivey’s desk, the Governor was quick to jump into action. Even though Cooper, a board member of NAEYC, acknowledged the content’s incongruence with Alabama’s laws, labeling them as “unacceptable”, she was shown the exit door by mid-April.

Governor Ivey, in a statement dripping with evident political motivation, said, “Woke concepts…that are divisive at the core have no place in Alabama classrooms at any age level.”

The immediate fallout? The training materials met their fate at a recycling plant, the very day after Cooper stepped down. This revelation came to light when a snapshot of the discarded materials surfaced online, later confirmed genuine.

Here’s the catch: NAEYC stressed that these materials were not student-curriculum. They were developed to support teachers in fostering an inclusive classroom environment. “It’s a responsive, educator-developed, educator-informed, and research-based resource…” a NAEYC representative clarified.

NAEYC also expressed their disapproval of Cooper’s removal in a poignant open letter on their site. They reminded us of the countless educators, parents, and policymakers who have risked their careers and lives for the advancement of children and families.

In an era where education should be moving forward, it’s disheartening to see certain states taking regressive steps, all for the sake of political gamesmanship. It’s not just about $16,500 worth of materials; it’s about the message it sends. As readers, voters, and believers in progress, we must remain informed, engaged, and ever-vigilant against such maneuvers. After all, the future of education depends on it.