Kay Ivey fires Early Childhood Education Secretary Barbara Cooper

On Friday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced that she has removed Barbara Cooper from her position as the Secretary of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE). Cooper submitted her resignation after it was discovered that ADECE was promoting “woke” concepts to the teachers of the state’s four-year-olds.

The Ivey administration learned that there was a pre-K teacher’s resource book with radical content being distributed across the state. After this was confirmed, Ivey demanded that Cooper issue a memo denouncing the text and removing it from use in Alabama’s pre-K program.

Cooper refused and instead offered her resignation. Gov. Ivey accepted her resignation.

“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. Let me be crystal clear,” Ivey said in a statement. “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.”

“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.”

Ivey said that the content is simply not in line with what the Ivey Administration or the people of Alabama stand for or believe. Ivey stated that she strongly believes that woke concepts have no place at any level of education in Alabama and should not be taken away from the overall mission of improving educational outcomes for students.

The resource book told the four-year-old kindergarten teachers that there are “larger systemic forces that perpetuate systems of White privilege” and that “the United States is built on systemic and structural racism.” The resource book also instructed the K4 teachers to instruct the four-year-olds that “LGBTQIA+ need to hear and see messages that promote equality, dignity, and worth.” The glossary includes equally disturbing concepts to the Ivey Administration.

Ivey said that her administration and the people of Alabama in no way, shape, or form believe should be used to influence school children, let alone four-year-olds.

Ivey said that for as long as she is governor, Alabama will be focused on ensuring our students are receiving a quality education and that she does not stand for these concepts.

Cooper was appointed to the position in July 2020.

Dr. Jan Hume will serve as the interim secretary of the ADECE while Governor Ivey decides on a permanent secretary to lead the department in the immediate future.

The legislature is considering legislation by Rep. Ed Oliver that would ban state agencies from teaching and promoting divisive concepts.

The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education is a cabinet-level agency that answers directly to the ADECE Secretary, who is appointed by the Governor and is not under the direct supervision of the State School Board – even though many of the pre-K classrooms are in Alabama elementary schools. Gov. Ivey has made expanding the state’s First Class Pre-K classrooms to improve access for four-year-olds across the state a high priority of her administration.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email brandonmreporter@gmail.com.

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