A Kindergarten teacher who publicly questioned his school spending $250,000 on a ‘Woke Kindergarten’ curriculum for ‘disrupting whiteness’ amid plummeting numeracy and literacy rates has been suspended.
Hayward Unified School District teacher Tiger Craven-Neeley said officials told him Thursday not to return to his classroom at Glassbrook Elementary until further notice.
He said he was told the suspension was in place while the district investigates allegations of ‘unprofessional conduct’, after a tense meeting where one female colleague stuck her hand in his face and shrieked that he was ‘a danger’ to children.
Craven-Neeley, who is gay and who describes himself as a liberal, propelled the school into the spotlight after he queried the decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the controversial curriculum. It is described as an ‘abolitionist early learning system’ designed to uproot white supremacy and disrupt racism, with non-binary founder Akiea Gross ranting about how she thinks Israel and the US have no right to exist on her Instagram.
After spending the federal money on the program the Hayward school saw numeracy among its 474 students fall to a new low of just 4 percent and literacy just 12 percent.
Tiger Craven-Neeley (pictured) was suspended after he raised concerns about the $250,000 Woke Kindergarten curriculum offered at his school
The curriculum was designed by Woke Kindergarten founder Akiea ‘Ki’ Gross as an ‘abolitionist early learning system’
Woke Kindergarten is flagrant about its political leanings, with its social media pages littered with graphics about abolishing the police, anti-Israel messages and even advocating the abolition of money
Craven-Neeley claims he was told to leave during a tense meeting in which another member of staff shoved a hand in his face and called him a threat to the school, an account corroborated by another staff member in the San Francisco Chronicle.
‘There was so much anger toward me,’ he told the outlet. ‘I was explaining my point of view. They were talking over me.
‘I was shocked. This is my school. I didn’t do anything inappropriate. I left. I was very shaky.’
On Thursday the teacher was summoned to a virtual conference and advised to bring a union representative before he was told he was being placed on indefinite leave.
‘It’s like a bitter paid vacation on taxpayer dollars,’ he said. ‘They are totally not taking the students into consideration.’
He added he has concerns ‘they’re going to twist things to try to justify retaliation or trying to appease the staff or they’re tired of me being a whistleblower or all the above.’
Craven-Neeley claims he attempted to talk to staff at the school about his concerns over Woke Kindergarten before going public.
He insists he’s no conservative and previously filed a lawsuit after bosses tried to ban him from mentioning his husband in the classroom.
The program’s philosophy of ‘abolitionist education’ aimed at elementary school aged kids centers around the idea that the education system as it is, steeped in racism and other oppressive structures, cannot be reformed.
Instead it advocates ‘a kind of starting over,’ Zeus Leonardo, UC Berkeley education professor told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Craven-Neeley claims he was suspended after a tense meeting where another staff member pointed their finger in his face and said he was a threat to the school
The ‘Woke Kindergarten’ program states its mission as an ‘abolitionist early learning ecosystem’ that trains teachers to uproot white supremacy, disrupt racism and oppression which are barriers to learning
Glassbrook Elementary in Hayward remains on the state’s lowest-performing level on the Comprehensive School Improvement list
Woke Kindergarten is flagrant about its political leanings, with its social media pages littered with graphics about abolishing the police, anti-Israel messages and even advocating the abolition of money.
One such lesson the program offers to elementary school children includes the ‘wondering’ where students are asked to consider ‘if the United States defunded the Israeli military, how could this money be used to rebuild Palestine?’
Woke Kindergarten also teaches the kids a ‘woke word of the day’ such as ‘ceasefire’ in order to educate them with ‘language of the resistance … to introduce children to liberatory vocabulary in a way that they can easily digest, understand and most importantly, use in their critiques of the system.’
The for-profit company was founded by non-binary early educator Akiea ‘Ki’ Gross, who uses they/them pronouns.
Gross has far-left views that include imagining a world ‘free of of the US empire and free of Israel’ which they have previously referred to as a ‘made-up place’.
In an Instagram post defining the word ceasefire they said: ‘One place that people are demanding a permanent ceasefire for is in Palestine because they are being occupied, or controlled, by a made up place called Israel that has settlers called Zionist who are harming and killing the Palestinian people who have always live on the land.’
Gross has far-left views that include imagining a world ‘free of of the US empire and free of Israel’ which they have previously referred to as a ‘made-up place’
One of the recent ‘woke words of the day’ posted to the company’s Instagram was ‘ceasefire’
Since the story hit headlines, the school and district have been bombarded with ‘threatening and racist’ messages and phone calls, according to spokesman Michael Bazeley.
He added that he could not comment on Gross’ ‘personal political or social views and declined to discuss Craven-Neeley’s suspension.
But he said, ‘We would not put any employee on leave as any sort of retaliation or squelch anyone’s free speech rights.’
Bazeley did not comment further on why the whistleblower had been ordered to stay home from work.