The Florida Department of Education has rejected more than 50 math textbooks for the upcoming school year, claiming the instructional materials incorporated “critical race theory” and the “unsolicited addition” of social-emotional learning concepts.
The department said 54 of the 132 textbooks submitted, or about 41 percent, were “impermissible” by state standards or contained “prohibited topics” such as critical race theory, a high-level academic framework that addresses systemic racism in institutions.
Twenty-eight math textbooks “were not included on the adopted list because they incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including [critical race theory]”, while 14 books did not “align correctly” with the state standards and included “prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies”, according to the Florida Department of Education.
Most of the rejected texts (71 percent) were from kindergarten through fifth grade.
the independent has requested the titles of the textbooks and the reasons why the agency rejected them.
There is no evidence that critical race theory is taught in Florida elementary schools, although the phrase has become a catch-all term, invoked by conservative activists with the help of dozens of local and national groups, conservative think tanks , law firms, and Republican Party officials. it encompasses teachings on the history of slavery, racism, and the civil rights movements, among other topics, with legislation widely aimed at censoring classroom lessons.
Conservative officials argue that such concepts or teaching materials do not directly discuss the theory, but rather derive from it.
The Department of Education also rejected books that it says contain Common Core, nationally standardized academic targets in reading and math that Florida rejected in 2020. Those targets were replaced by the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking, or BEST, standards.
Joining a national effort targeting “divisive lessons” in classrooms, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Republican state lawmakers have sought to censor classroom discussions and materials, limiting teaching on race and racism, as well as LGBT+ history, events, and people.
In June, the Florida State Board of Education passed a rule to ban “critical race theory” from state schools, saying the theory “distorts historical events” and is “inconsistent” with standards approved by the state board.
Last month, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the “Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees Act” or “Stop the WOKE Act,” which bans classroom discussions that suggest someone is responsible for actions “done in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin,” which critics argue could censor lessons on historical atrocities, from slavery to the Holocaust.
It also requires that classroom materials, as well as professional development materials in the workplace, be “consistent with principles of individual freedom” and allows residents to sue schools and workplaces for violations. perceived.
Florida’s governor and lawmakers also approved a measure requiring school districts to involve parents in committees that make recommendations to school boards about the “classification, removal, or selection” of instructional materials.
Republican officials have also increasingly focused on the concepts of “social-emotional learning,” which seek to help students manage their emotions, develop positive relationships and make good decisions, from learning to ask for help to how to identify if someone is having a bad day.
“We don’t want things like math to have, you know, some of these other concepts introduced. It hasn’t been shown to be effective, and frankly, it’s distracting,” the governor said during a press conference on April 18.
In a statement, he claimed that the textbooks included “indoctrinating concepts like racial essentialism, especially, strangely enough, for elementary school students.”
Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez claimed without evidence that the state has seen a “systematic attempt by these publishers to infiltrate our children’s education by incorporating themes” such as critical race theory.
Democratic State Representative Carlos Smith saying the governor “is hysterically pulling math books” out of the state.
“This isn’t just some right-wing pandering folly: They will then spend MILLIONS of tax dollars forcing schools to buy math books from GOP campaign donors,” he said.
“I get it. The point of math is to solve problems that the Florida Republican Party doesn’t like to do.” saying Democratic State Rep. Anna Eskamani.