Over the weekend we became aware of insensitive language used in the online FAQ of Miss Humblebee’s Academy, an early learning resource Gale distributes to public libraries.
We agree the referenced content was problematic and have already worked with our partner to address these errors. In addition to being inaccurate about the legal requirements of English language programs and mischaracterizing English language learners, the answer was also incomplete in that it failed to highlight that children and their caregivers can translate about 40% of the content available from Miss Humblebee’s Academy to support learning in their native language.
In collaboration with Miss Humblebee’s Academy’s founder, Crystal Labbe, Cengage’s Sr. Director of Inclusion and Diversity and a representative from the English Language Teaching division of Gale’s sister company, National Geographic Learning, we have updated the web content to accurately reflect the product and our values.
“Stating that it was not our intention to offend you or anyone else is not good enough to say or write, because we have offended you. This is the last thing I as an individual, or as a company would ever want to do. On behalf of Miss Humblebee’s Academy, and as the founder, I want to personally offer my deepest apologies.”
— Crystal Labbe, Founder, Miss Humblebee’s Academy
We understand that this error has caused many to question the quality of Gale’s resources and our shared commitment to creating inclusive libraries and learning environments. Through our ongoing actions, we will work to rebuild your trust in our brand and in our partner, Miss Humblebee’s Academy, which offers a program that is grounded in research and presents learning concepts based on the U.S. Department of Education, Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, Common Core State Standards Initiative, research of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and CASEL standards.
In November 2020, the Miss Humblebee’s Academy website and curriculum were updated with a specific focus on equity, diversity and inclusion. The FAQ should have been evaluated as part of this update and Miss Humblebee’s Academy will conduct a more thorough review in the future. Here are other recent updates:
- The removal of binary gender-based language throughout the curriculum.
- More diverse characters and student avatars.
- The addition of short video tutorials led by a diverse group of teachers to address key kindergarten-readiness skills and concepts in all subject areas, including SEL.
- The availability of World Changer eBooks, which are nonfiction series of eBooks that feature inspiring individuals of all ages from around the globe.
Thank you for your awareness and commitment to social equity. By bringing this issue to our attention you have afforded us the opportunity to learn and grow—and for that we are appreciative. We look forward to continuing this journey together with our librarian and educator partners, as we all work to create inclusive learning environments where all children can feel safe and know they belong.