Earlier this month, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey fired the Early Childhood Education secretary, Dr. Barbara Cooper, following allegations that Dr. Cooper had been promoting so-called “Woke” material in the classrooms.
“It’s really an example of politics and ideology just getting in the way of education,” said Adam Keller on The Valley Labor Report, who is a former colleague of Dr. Cooper's, having worked alongside her years ago. “That’s what I see here. Governor Ivey has pushed her out — more or less has fired her — over quote-unquote ‘woke concepts.’”
According to Adam, Dr. Cooper was nothing but caring and respectful, not imposing, especially not to students, and she had a real heart for seeing the education system thrive.
One of the materials that allegedly caused offense was a book entitled Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs, which is part of the National Association for the Education of Young Children series. “I know, sounds scandalous, right?” Adam said, with a sarcastic chuckle. “This is a teaching book. A book for teachers to learn more about teaching. It is not for children [to read]. It’s not even for parents. It’s for teachers.”
So what exactly was in the book? According to Alabama Reflector journalist Jemma Stephenson, the governor’s office received a complaint via email about the book “teaching white privilege, structural racism and messaging promoting ‘equality, dignity and worth’ around LGBTQIA+ identities.” The Reflector went on to perform their own review of the 800-page book and found that it largely focused on “encouraging teachers to be aware of inequities, implicit bias and the diverse backgrounds of children in order to be better teachers and create welcoming environments for their students.”
In other words, the book does not promote any particular ideology, and instead focuses on helping the teachers, the book’s targeted audience, learn how to best lead and speak to a diverse classroom.
“[T]he Early Childhood Department in Alabama has been highly acclaimed; the Pre-K Program in Alabama has been widely acclaimed and had very good results — and of course there’s critiques you can make of it, just like you can anything else, but by and large it’s been pretty successful,” Adam continued during the broadcast. “It’s just bizarre and it’s shameful to see that kind of politics interfere.”
Right-Wing hysteria over so-called “Wokeness,” especially in the US education system, has been a growing concern and burden for educators across the country, as they are seeing increased efforts especially in “red states” to severely limit and even “whitewash” American education.
Watch Jacob and Adam’s full reaction to Dr. Barbara Cooper being fired on YouTube:
Joe Harrison is graphic designer and video producer for The Valley Labor Report, as well as an orchestral composer. Having a long history with self-centered, manipulative, and abusive employers, he joined TVLR in November 2021 in an effort to raise awareness of worker struggles and the severe imbalance of power in the workplace and the nation as a whole.