After a high-profile announcement Friday about rejecting math textbooks submitted for adoption by the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education are providing few details about how the books violated state academic standards.
The Department of Education on Friday said the books did not make an initial adoption list because they included “prohibited topics” or were inconsistent with state standards. The department said 54 of 132 submitted textbooks, or 41 percent, were rejected.
“Reasons for rejecting textbooks included references to Critical Race Theory (CRT), inclusions of Common Core and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics,” a news release from the department said.
But the news release, which was titled, “Florida Rejects Publishers’ Attempts to Indoctrinate Students,” did not provide examples of questions or other details that would show why the books were rejected. Democrats have alleged political motivations as DeSantis tries to appeal to conservative voters.
Critical race theory is based on the premise that racism is embedded in American institutions, and has been a target of DeSantis, state legislative leaders and other Republicans across the country.
Social and emotional learning is a set of processes by which students learn to do things such as manage emotions, “feel and show empathy for others” and maintain relationships, according to the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, which is funded by the U.S Department of Education.
DeSantis introduced the state’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking Standards, or BEST Standards, in 2020. The governor billed the new education guidelines as a replacement for the politically unpopular Common Core standards that were used in the past in Florida.
Textbooks for kindergarten through fifth-grade students were rejected at the highest rate, with 71 percent of materials turned away.
“It seems that some publishers attempted to slap a coat of paint on an old house built on the foundation of Common Core, and indoctrinating concepts like race essentialism, especially, bizarrely, for elementary school students,” DeSantis said in the Friday news release.
Asked Monday for specifics about how the rejected textbooks violated state standards in those three categories, DeSantis said he would like for that information to be made public but he “respects the process” that has kept the education department from releasing it.
“I would say, one, talk to the Department of Education for more background on it. What they have told me is that there is an appeal process that the textbook publishers can go through. And right now, what’s in their textbooks is considered proprietary information. So, I would be perfectly fine with doing that. That’s just not been their standard of practice. And it’s not because they don’t want to release, it’s just because these are textbooks and this is how they do it,” DeSantis told reporters during an appearance in Jacksonville.
The Department of Education did not provide specifics on why the textbooks were rejected when asked Monday by The News Service of Florida. The department in an email provided information about the textbook adoption process and confirmed that textbook companies can appeal the rejections.
But the Democratic Governors Association on Monday called for the state to release information about the rejections.
“DeSantis’ silence on the specifics of his divisive and dangerous book ban makes it clear it’s just another one of his crusades to further his own political ambitions,” a news release from the association said.
Free-speech organization PEN America said the education department’s rejection of the books “raises serious concerns” about why the decisions were made.
“The Florida Department of Education’s rejection of 41 percent of math textbooks submitted to the state — including 71 percent of textbooks for grades K-5 — on the grounds that they include ‘references to critical race theory’ or ‘social emotional learning’ demonstrates how broadly ‘educational gag orders’ can be wielded against a range of educational materials, and raises serious concerns about whether these decisions are being made based on pedagogy or politics,” Jeremy Young, senior manager of PEN America’s Free Expression and Education program, said in a statement.
But DeSantis on Monday defended the state’s rejection of the math textbooks.
“First, it doesn’t meet the standards. But second, you know, math is about getting the right answer. And we want kids to learn to think so they get the right answer. It’s not about how you feel about the problem,” the governor said.
–Ryan Dailey, News Service of Florida
Angela Biggs says
Here is the list of banned textbooks: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/2022/04/18/critical-race-theory-substandard-math-textbooks-thrown-out-florida-desantis/7359977001/?fbclid=IwAR1R0t1xsG-SEnFBEXqez8O_a3ruh-gz9LBuespiIp1HVbrdzbL5t-kCp0E
Thanks for sharing. Those are some pretty well known names in school publishing that I hope go to Court against him and his cronies. Just another episode in DUH-Santis’ wasting of the taxpayers money for his own pathetic aspirations.
Angela Biggs says
I agree 100%. I am so tired of these ridiculous lies and stunts by the FL GOP. VOTE RON OUT!
Yes! What comes next? Re-education camps? The Desantis Youth Army? The silent disappearance of people who continue to fight for democracy? He is reaching for dictatorship. Why so much silence Florida???
Tony Mack says
Florida’s complaint about CRT in math books comes from faked equation problems: State House Dem
Sarah K. Burris
April 18, 2022
More than four dozen math books were blocked in Florida alleging that they’re teaching “critical race theory.”
It led many to mock the extreme lengths that Gov. Ron DeSantis is going to eliminate things he finds objectionable. The story sparked outrage before it ultimately gave into mockery with people making jokes about math being “divisive” and that remainders are “socialist.”
As blogger JoeMyGod observed, Florida state Rep. Carlos G. Smith asked the DeSantis’ administration to show proof that the textbooks were “indoctrinating” the state’s youth. What his staff came up with, however, was a problem that wasn’t even in one of the books and was actually from Missouri.
When DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw posted screen captures of objectionable math problems, it turned people to search which math book would use such a math problem, only to discover that the problem wasn’t in a book. It was part of an internet worksheet and the company that posted it online had it removed.
Another individual found the actual post on the website with the questions that the supplemental site came up with. It clearly shows that someone edited the worksheet.
Once again, the Republicans can’t help but lie to move their agenda. And how many jobs are being created through this maneuver? Pitiful, really
Sarah: And yet it works. Republicans have shown us they are not interested in facts. They listen to Fox Entertainment and their politicians, who cater to their mindsets, and do not do any research on the topics other than on sites that, again, tell them only what they want to hear. They do not understand that they are being talked down to. Republicans will take the midterm. You would think these politicians would be embarrassed that the only way to win is though cheating, but nah. They continue to benefit.
The dude says
So these books… the ones that are freely handed to each public school aged child every year at the beginning of the term.
Somehow contain “proprietary” information?
Governor Poser Grandstand has no idea why these books were rejected, yet he goes and makes comments of which he has no knowledge. Media needs to sue the education department to find out what is soooo bad and publish the results. Time for the the media in this State to ramp up calling out this Governor and his own indoctrination of the children.
Old Guy says
Total BS. Just throwing red meat to the radical right.
DeSantis will do anything to be in the news. It would be great if he started behaving like a Governor and dealing with the State of Florida needs on improvements and leave the public school teachings a lone to those in charge. Water pollution, wildlife dying, street and bridges that need repairing, climate change. You never hear him talk about those things he just continues to attack public schools and how they are teaching.
DeathSantis makes national news and he sure is making himself look like a real fool. If the nation didn’t know better they would think the clown has absolutely no educations. Can only imagine what his parents think after paying for him to go to Ivy League colleges and to come out lack of education or common sense. He is now showing the nation he has neither.
Have you notice every time he is on television he has to have several people standing behind him like his army of supporters.
The more restrictions he is placing in the State of Florida the tourists system will hurt and people are not going to want to move here because of a unpredictable political figure. What wild idea will he come up with this week?
Hey, Math is hard. I can never figure it out . . .
Science too is bad. Lots of lies in there. The book says the Earth is round. Look out there and tell me it’s not flat!
History, well who reads that stuff anyway.
Guess that leaves football – as the only thing that makes sense to me – but they won’t let me play ‘cuz I can’t read.
Think I’ll get in politics . . .
John Stove says
What else can we expect from the party of traitors and liars? “Proprietary Information” is the same as “Executive Privelege” and it’s just another example of why these people have no idea how to run a country let alone a state.
How about you morons work on housing costs, health care cost, climate change, growth, traffic, crime etc etc etc
Republicans are the party of morons
DeSantis lives to get his minute of fame in the media each and every day. The best news would be for him and his entire family to die in a fiery car crash. I would gladly piss on their Graves and push for a new state holiday.