Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy

Louisiana Senator Seeks Answers About Taxpayer Funding For California ‘Woke Kindergarten’

Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy
Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy. By Kate Anderson, DCNF.

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana announced on Friday that he was seeking information about a California elementary school that spent hundreds of thousands on a “Woke Kindergarten” program.

Glassbrook Elementary School reportedly spent $250,000 on “Woke Kindergarten,” a nonprofit that encourages a “global, abolitionist early childhood ecosystem.” Cassidy raised concerns in several letters to the nonprofit and the California Department of Education requesting information on the purpose of the program’s inclusion in light of “failing test scores in crucial subjects like math and reading.”

“The reports regarding Woke Kindergarten are serious. Teachers at Glassbrook Elementary in Hayward, California, reportedly stated that the Woke Kindergarten program is ‘rooted in progressive politics and activism with anti-police, anti-capitalism and anti-Israel messages mixed in with the goal of making schools safe, joyful and supportive for all children,’” Cassidy wrote in a letter to the department.

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The nonprofit’s website includes “woke read alouds” in which the founder, Akiea Gross, reads books about the importance “for all of us to affirm people’s identities.” The website also includes resources titled “lil’ comrade convos,” “woke words of the day” and “teach Palestine.”

Cassidy demanded that Woke Kindergarten explain the “purpose” of its activities, as well as “produce copies of all materials used in connection with your program,” according to the letter. The Louisiana senator asked the department to explain if it was aware of the program’s use at Glassbrook and if the department knew where the federal funds were coming from to pay for the program.

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During the program’s implementation in the 20222023 school year, grades also dropped significantly in crucial subjects, with reading and math at 16% and 14% respectively, according to the California School Dashboard. The school was also ranked as one of the worst-performing elementary schools in the state.

The Hayward Unified School District canceled the contract with Woke Kindergarten in February after immense backlash from conservative commentators such as Ben Shapiro, Jesse Waters and the activist account Libs of Tik Tok. The program was halted because it was “distracting the district,” according to Michael Bazeley, HUSD spokesperson, who formerly spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation about the situation.

Woke Kindergarten, Glassbrook and the department did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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