Questions Abound After $16K Worth Of Pre-K Training Materials Are Destroyed In Alabama
Alabama Republicans are presumed responsible for destroying over $16,000 worth of pre-K (yes, your eyes are not deceiving you) training materials after they deemed them “too woke.” According to AL.com, piles of teacher training manuals were left at one Montgomery, Alabama, waste recycling plant.
Following Gov. Kay Ivey’s denouncement of a teaching manual from the National Association for the Education of Young Children in April, she subsequently relieved a state official of their duties over a “progressive” manual for pre-K teachers.
In a press release in April, Ivey’s office said she was concerned about passages in the book that inform teachers of “larger systemic forces that perpetuate systems of White privilege” in addition to a passage stating that it “is built on systemic and structural racism” and also directions stating “LGBTQIA+ need to hear and see messages that promote equality, dignity, and worth.
” Ivey’s office also said in the release, “Governor Ivey strongly believes that woke concepts 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.”
So far, according to reporting from AL.com, the actual fallout from Ivey’s firing of Barbara Cooper is unknown; this includes what happened to the pre-K teacher materials and other material from the NAEYC. The Ivey administration’s official position is that that department was publicly discredited,d and the book was discontinued, but they would not clarify anything beyond that. The reversal of fortune for Cooper only happened after a Republican representative, Jamie Kiel, crafted a complaint highlighting passages in the material that explicitly discussed systemic racism, LGBTQ+ individuals, and white privilege. All concepts that Kiel claimed were offensive to his office and constituents.
According to NPR, the book says that “systemic and structural racism … has permeated every institution and system through policies and practices that position people of color in oppressive, repressive, and menial positions. The early education system is not immune to these forces.”
Previously, the state spent almost $38,000 to purchase 237 copies of the NAEYC’s Fourth Edition of its Developmentally Appropriate Practices manual. According to estimates, the books destroyed in the photo released to AL.com are valued at approximately $16,000, almost half the budget, representing a significant amount of wasted taxpayer money.
The NAEYC released a statement to the Associated Press detailing the intent of its materials.
“For nearly four decades, and in partnership with hundreds of thousands of families and educators, Developmentally Appropriate Practice has served as the foundation for high-quality early childhood education across all states and communities. While not a curriculum, it is a responsive, educator-developed, educator-informed, and research-based resource that has been honed over multiple generations to support teachers in helping all children thrive and reach their full potential.”