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Ranking Member Cassidy Probes Whether California Followed Statutory Requirements in Approving Taxpayer Funds for “Woke Kindergarten” Program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, raised serious concerns over the use of federal taxpayer dollars to fund “Woke Kindergarten” at an elementary school in California, with failing test scores in crucial subjects like math and reading.  

Earlier this month, media outlets reported that Glassbrook Elementary School in Hayward, California spent $250,000 in federal funds on “Woke Kindergarten,” a non-profit that purports to be a “global, abolitionist early childhood ecosystem,” “to train teachers to confront white supremacy, disrupt racism and oppression and remove those barriers to learning.” This reporting is supported in part by 2022 school board documents indicating that federal funding was tied to a proposed contract between Hayward Public Schools and Woke Kindergarten, LLC. 

Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the California Department of Education (CDE) is responsible for approving and monitoring improvement plans for certain low-performing schools that are eligible to receive federal funding for school improvement. The CDE website states that schools are required to submit “summaries” of school improvement plans to state officials. It’s unclear whether the school in question included “Woke Kindergarten” in its improvement plan, and whether state officials actually approved the plan as required by law.   

This investment in “Woke Kindergarten” came with a decline in student success, with reading and math scores dropping 16 percent and 14 percent respectively from 2022 to 2023. Glassbrook is one of the lowest performing elementary schools in California, with reportedly “less than 4% of students proficient in math and just under 12% at grade level in English.” 

Additionally, teachers at Glassbrook have publicly raised concerns about the program, reportedly describing it as “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.”   

Given these disturbing reports, Cassidy is seeking information from CDE to determine if it knew taxpayer dollars were being used for “Woke Kindergarten,” and whether it followed the proper process for approving the school’s improvement plan. Additionally, Cassidy is demanding that the Department of Education (DeptEd) increase its oversight to ensure schools are properly using school improvement funds. Cassidy is also requesting documents from DeptEd and Woke Kindergarten, LLC to establish whether federal school improvement funds are being used to promote this far-left program in other schools nationwide.   

Read the full letter to CDE here.   

Read the full letter to DeptEd here.   

Read the full letter to Woke Kindergarten, LLC here.   


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