The state's education department has rejected almost half of the mathematics textbooks submitted for use in public schools, citing critical race theory among other issues.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is cracking down on critical race theory and other liberal ideology in public school classrooms by leading reform in education standards and policies in the state. One such policy is the call for textbook submissions from publishers in 2021. This was also in line with the Republican governor's executive order in 2019 that eliminated Common Core standards in the state.
Fox News reported that among all mathematics textbooks submitted for use in the state's public schools on Friday, 41% had been rejected by Florida's Department of Education (DOE). The DOE believed that the rejected textbooks "were impermissible with either Florida's new standards or contained prohibited topics."
In a statement that accompanied the announcement of the recent rejection of 41% of math textbooks for public schools over its CRT content, Gov. DeSantis alleged that publishers have "attempted to slap a coat of paint on an old house built on the foundation of Common Core" and are trying to include "indoctrinating concepts like race essentialism" for elementary school students, which he called rather "bizarre."
Gov. DeSantis commended DOE Commissioner Richard Corcoran and his team for conducting a "thorough vetting of these textbooks to ensure they comply with the law." In the DOE's announcement, the department revealed that the highest number of rejected books were in fact for grade levels K-5, with up to 71% "not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies."
In fact, the 41% rejection rate was the highest in Florida's history. Moreover, the DOE found references to critical race theory or CRT content, inclusions of Common Core, and the "unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics." Meanwhile, the DOE said that the rejections may be appealed by the publishers.
The rejection of 41% of math textbooks for puiblic schools in Florida over its CRT content comes after Gov. DeSantis continued to crack down on liberal ideology in the state by passing the Parental Rights in Education Act that prevented classroom discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation. According to The Hill, Democrats slammed the Florida DOE's decision to reject so many books over its CRT content.
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith took to Twitter to accuse Gov. DeSantis of "hysterically pulling math books outta FL schools claiming they 'indoctrinate' kids with CRT," describing the move as "crazy right-wing pandering" and alleging that Republicans will soon "spend MILLIONS of tax dollars forcing schools to buy math books from GOP campaign donors."
Meanwhile, a a professor of history at Flagler College in St. Augustine, J. Michael Butler on Saturday held a community discussion on CRT at the LaCita Country Club in Titusville, Florida, where he explained to a crowd of about 60 that the version of CRT that Republican leaders feel strongly against is an "intentional distortion," Florida Today reported.
"[CRT] is a weaponized word. You can distort it, and present it in a way that's frightening, dangerous, scary," who wrote two books on the civil rights movement in Florida, claimed. "It's so obviously used for political reasons that its interpretation at the local level leads citizens to argue with each other for reasons that have nothing to do with intellectual honesty."