Alabama GOP Gov. Kay Ivey ousts education official over ‘woke concepts’ in Pre-K educational materials

The head of Alabama’s Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) has resigned after Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey was made aware of “woke concepts” featured in the books that were being distributed to teachers in the state. Ivey’s office said in a Friday press release that last week it “was brought to the Administration’s attention that there was concerning content in a pre-K educator resource book, content that is simply not in line with what the Ivey Administration or the people of Alabama stand for or believe.” Upon learning about the specific content, Ivey’s office said the governor sought to review and confirm the educational material before she asked ADECE Sec. Barbara Cooper to “send a memo to disavow this book and to immediately discontinue its use.” “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. ALABAMA ADVANCES GOP BILL BANNING CLASSROOM DISCUSSIONS OF ‘DIVISIVE’ CONCEPTS ON RACE AND GENDER While it is unclear how Cooper responded to the matter, Ivey’s office said the governor had accepted Cooper’s resignation after calling for a “change in leadership.” “Alabama’s First Class Pre-K is the best in the country, and those children are at too critical of a juncture in their educational journeys and development to get it wrong. I remain confident in the wonderful teachers we have in pre-K classrooms around our state and in the necessity of our children receiving a strong start to their educational journeys in our First Class Pre-K program,” Ivey added. “I thank Dr. Cooper for her service, but I believe it is best we continue this historically strong program on its forward trajectory under new leadership.” Ivey’s office said Dr. Jan Hume will serve as interim secretary of the ADECE while the governor weighs an official replacement. Ivey communications director Gina Maiola told Fox News Digital the book in question is a pre-K educator resource book called the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Developmentally Appropriate Practice Book, 4th edition. ALABAMA SWEET 16 SHOOTING: 6TH SUSPECT, A 15-YEAR-OLD, ARRESTED The material that led to Cooper’s resignation, according to Ivey’s office, “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 four-year-olds to learn is that ‘LGBTQIA+ need to hear and see messages that promote equality, dignity and worth.’ The glossary includes equally disturbing concepts that the Ivey Administration and the people of Alabama in no way, shape or form believe should be used to influence school children, let alone four-year-olds,” Ivey’s office noted. The NAEYC — a national accrediting board that works to provide education materials and resources for young children — did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital. Cooper is a member of the NAEYC board. In a previously published statement on the organization’s website about the latest edition of the book, Cooper said that book teaches, “applicable skills for teaching through developmentally appropriate practices that build brains during the critical first five years of life.” Alabama’s First Class voluntary pre-kindergarten programs operates more than 1,400 classrooms across the state. The program has won high ratings from the National Institute for Early Education Research. Despite her resignation, Cooper was recognized by Ivey’s office for putting “an increased focus on students in lower-performing areas and has even been a champion for computer science education in the state.” The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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