Governor Kay Ivey has announced the resignation of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) Secretary Barbara Cooper after reviewing a teacher's manual that contained a “woke agenda.”

In a Friday statement, Ivey’s office announced it had been made aware of an educator resource book that contained “woke” ideas.

That statement said that Ivey immediately sought a review of the book. She also directed Cooper to send a memo disavowing the book and immediately discontinuing its use.

Ivey said the resource book contained a “woke agenda” and invoked 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.” The book also included for four-year-olds to learn that “LGBTQIA+ need to hear and see messages that promote equality, dignity and worth.”

“Governor Ivey has made the decision to have a change in leadership at the department and accepted Dr. Cooper’s resignation immediately,” the release read. “Governor Ivey remains appreciative for her service to the state and passion for early childhood education.” 

“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,” Ivey said. “ Let me be ucrystal 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. We want our children to be focused on the fundamentals, such as reading and math.”

Ivey’s office did not include the book's title, nor did it mention how long the resource has been used with Pre-K teachers.  

In her statement, Ivey said she remained appreciative of Cooper’s work in the field but that “woke concepts have no place at any level of education in the state of Alabama.”

“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,” Ivey continued. “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. 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.”

Dr. Jan Hume will serve as the interim secretary of the ADECE until Ivey appoints a permanent replacement.

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