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Waste of the Day: California 'Woke Kindergarten' Blew Money On Odd Curriculum, High Pensions

March 19, 2024

Topline: A California school spent $250,000 in federal funds to hire a teacher training service called Woke Kindergarten, but after two years, student performance got even worse, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

An audit by researchers at OpenTheBooks.com revealed that almost two-thirds of employees at the low-income, underperforming Glassbrook Elementary are making six-figure salaries. Retired educators are also collecting pensions of more than $200,000.

Open the Books
Waste of the Day 3.19.24

Key facts: Woke Kindergarten’s website says it supports “children, families, educators and organizations in their commitment to abolitionist early education and pro-black and queer and trans liberation.”

The teacher-training program is designed to help students “resist, heal, liberate and create.” It was paid for through a federal grant meant to help the country’s lowest-performing schools.

Glassbrook Elementary said it terminated Woke Kindgergarten’s contract earlier this year because the for-profit group’s public statements “did not align” with the school’s values.

Founder Akiea Gross recently said in an Instagram video that the U.S. and Israel are both “demons” and “villains” that have “no right to exist” because of their treatment of Native Americans and Palestinians.

Glassbrook Elementary still defended its decision to hire Woke Kindergarten. The Chronicle says district officials claimed the school was no longer on the state watch list for low performance, only to be told their ranking on the list had actually gotten worse.

The California Department of Education is required by law to monitor how low-performing schools use federal funds. That means the department either approved the $250,000 Woke Kindergarten contract or did not follow proper oversight procedures.

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who leads the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, recently opened an investigation into Woke Kindergarten and the California Department of Education’s oversight of Glassbrook Elementary.

Background: Less than 4% of students at Glassbrook Elementary are proficient in math and only 12% can read at grade level. The school is in a low-income community where two-thirds of students are English learners and 80% are Hispanic.

But records from OpenTheBooks.com show that in 2022, when Woke Kindergarten was hired, the Hayward Unified School District spent almost $136 million on payroll, including doling out six-figure salaries to 814 educators — 60% of all employees.

Superintendent Matthew Wayne made $295,000 that year, $80,000 more than California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The district also paid $5 million in pensions in 2022. Eighty-one retirees collected six-figure pensions up to $211,248.

Supporting quote: A school spokesperson told Fox News “Anti-bias/Anti-racist teaching, restorative practices, multi-language learning, literacy and mathematics will remain a focus for Glassbrook, building on the work that school has undertaken over the past several years.”

Summary: Regardless of one’s opinion on diversity education in schools,a perhaps $250,000 is better used to teach first-graders to read and write instead of tackling global politics.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com

This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.
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