Ahead of the midterms and his re-election campaign, DeSantis pushed for measures limiting how race can be taught in classrooms and championed Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, known to opponents as “No say gay.” That bill prohibits teachers from conducting classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade.
DeSantis said Friday that the state will follow Florida’s standards and he praised his education department for flagging texts and sending them back to publishers to “take the nonsense out of math books.”
“Two plus two equals four,” DeSantis said at an event in Ocala. “It’s not two plus two and let’s have a wrestling session about it.”
Book reviews released Thursday illustrate that the Florida Department of Education asked its analysts a series of four questions about “special topics” that could ultimately disqualify a text from being adopted for use in classrooms around the world. the state.
The state education department specifically sought to learn whether the books aligned with the state rule prohibiting critical race theory, and whether they included snippets of “Culturally Responsive Teaching,” “Social Justice,” or social-emotional learning, which are intended to teach students how to manage their emotions and develop strong relationships with their peers. The Florida Board of Education in 2021 approved a rule prohibiting critical race theory along with The 1619 Project of The New York Times, stating that they are theories that “distort historical events”.
Critical Race Theory, an analytical framework developed by legal scholars, examines how race and racism have become entrenched in American laws and institutions since slavery and Jim Crow.
In one example that caught the state’s attention, a reviewer noted that a high school statistics book included lessons on race that could violate the rule.
They pointed to pages discussing “racial profiling in policing” and “discrimination in admissions to specialized schools,” along with a case in which the book mentioned that there were “too many” white police officers in the NYPD compared to the composition community race. .
This textbook, published by Pearson, was one of many waived by the state. Another Pearson book covering precalculus majors was criticized for a section asking students what algebra can help say about “racial bias.”
Florida originally rejected 54 of the 132 proposed math textbooks, about 41 percent, submitted by publishers, most of which were proposed for kindergarten through fifth grade. Some 28 of the math textbooks, or 21 percent, were left off the adoption list due to “forbidden topics,” including critical race theory, according to the state education department.
This decision initially left Florida schools with just a textbook option for standard K-5 math. But the state has since adopted additional editors after they modified their proposals.
To that end, reviewers singled out two publishers seeking to provide K-5 math books for addressing lessons on social-emotional learning, according to the documents.
A second-grade textbook by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt was penalized for its alignment with state standards because “attempts at multicultural teaching” were evident in its text. The example given was “types of housing for different groups of people”.
Similarly, a McGraw Hill LLC book for fifth graders was rated “very poor” for its social and emotional learning lessons. The reviewer noted that one question “asks students to think about social and emotional learning competencies, including relationship skills and social awareness.”
Another book on Florida’s “not recommended” list, a college liberal arts math text, was allegedly “biased” on climate change and emphasized that “racism is ingrained in American society depending on age,” according to one critic.
This book, a Pearson publication for high school students, contained exercises based on “an argument” between former Vice President Al Gore and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh in which, the reviewer wrote, “The author is clearly favoring Al Gore and he doesn’t like Rush. Limbaugh based on questions.”
This book includes a bar chart “measuring racial bias, by age,” an example cited earlier by the FLDOE.
“Based solely on elements of Critical Race Theory, this book should not be considered for adoption,” according to the reviewer, who also criticized the author for “talking about a climate crisis as if it were proven fact.”
Textbook publishers, including McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, have indicated they are appealing the state’s decision not to adopt the books.