Alabama Early Childhood Education Secretary Barbara Cooper resigned, amid concerns over a "woke agenda." At issue: a resource book for pre-K teachers. Gov. Kay Ivey's office said the book suggested teachers address “larger systemic force that perpetuate systems of White privilege,” that “the United States is built on systemic and structural racism,” and that it should be taught to pre-K students that “LGBTQIA+ need to hear and see messages that promote equality, dignity and worth.” The governor ordered an investigation, resulting in the state discontinuing use of the book. “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,” said Governor Ivey. “Let me be crystal 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 says she decided a change in leadership was necessary, and accepted Cooper's resignation, effective immediately.
“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,” said Ivey. “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.”