This past weekend, the State of Florida made headlines when it was reported that 54 out of a total of 132 textbooks submitted to the Department of Education for public school use were rejected because they “violate either Florida’s updated standards or present prohibited themes.” According to a statement, the 41 percent refusal rate was the highest in state history.
The Department of Education added, “CRT was one of the reasons for rejecting books, as were references to Common Core, and unwelcome additions of social-emotional learning in mathematics.”
According to the department, the problem was more acute in materials submitted for K-5 grades, where “an alarmingly high 71% were not correctly aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited themes and unsolicited methods.” The department stated that, while it was compelled to reject so many textbooks, “every important mathematics course and grade is catered by at least one textbook.”
“It appears that some publishers attempted to adorn an old house with new paint and add indoctrinating concepts like race essentialism, especially for primary school children,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “I’m thankful that Commissioner Corcoran and his staff at the Dept. did such a thorough vetting of these books to ensure they follow the law.”
The Department of Education announced in 2021 that they had issued bids to publishers requesting that they submit models for mathematics instructional books to be included on the state’s approved list for public school curricula in accordance with Governor DeSantis’ 2019 Executive Order 19-32. The request also stated that materials must adhere to FL learning standards and should not include free methods such as SEL.
The Department griped, “It’s a shame that several publishers, particularly at the elementary school level, have disregarded this clear communication and tried to sneak rebranded educational materials that are based on Common Core Standards into classrooms in Florida. Others, on the other hand, have included divisive and prohibited concepts such as CRT or other unsolicited methods of indoctrination – despite FDOE’s previous notification.”
The decision was met with outrage by Florida Democrats. State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith slammed the move as “crazy right-wing pandering,” and state Rep. Anna Eskamani wrote that she wouldn’t be surprised if GOP leaders attempted to ban Algebra from high schools in Florida.