As the Florida Department of Education seeks proposals from textbook companies to provide social-studies materials to schools, it is making clear concepts such as critical race theory and social justice should not be included.
The department is accepting bids from companies through June 10 to provide social-studies books for a five-year period starting in 2023. The department posted to its website a 29-page document that lists criteria for what is expected to be included in the books — and what’s expected to be left out.
“Critical race theory, social justice, culturally responsive teaching, social and emotional learning, and any other unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination are prohibited,” part of the document said, citing state education standards.
The criteria emphasize a requirement that all materials align with the state’s “Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking” standards, which were adopted by the state in 2019. Those standards came after Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order to eliminate vestiges of politically unpopular “Common Core” standards.
Companies vying to provide social-studies textbooks should “not attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a viewpoint inconsistent with Florida standards,” the guidelines say.
The State Board of Education last summer approved a rule that placed restrictions on the way history can be taught in public schools, a move DeSantis billed as a way to combat critical race theory.
Critical race theory, which is based on the premise that racism is embedded in American institutions, has been a target of DeSantis and other Republicans across the country. DeSantis last month signed a bill (HB 7) that will limit the way race-related issues can be taught in schools and in workplace training. That law also serves as a basis for the state’s prohibition on critical race theory, often referred to as CRT.
“We’re working to make sure that the purpose of the school system is to educate our kids, not to indoctrinate our kids. And that’s what parents want to see. So, we are doing more than anybody on education across the board,” DeSantis said during an event Wednesday in Crestview.
The social-studies textbook guidelines quote the state law and list what are described as “potential CRT components,” such as the concept that a person “bears responsibility for, or should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment because of, actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.”
The textbook criteria also explicitly bar social-studies materials that would teach the concept of social justice.
“Social justice is closely aligned to CRT (critical race theory),” the document said.
The department lists what it calls “potential social justice components” that will not be accepted in textbook bids.
“Seeking to eliminate undeserved disadvantages for selected groups,” one such example said.
“Undeserved disadvantages are from mere chance of birth and are factors beyond anyone’s control, thereby landing different groups in different conditions,” said another.
“Equality of treatment under the law is not a sufficient condition to achieve justice,” was a third potential social-justice component listed by the department.
Social emotional learning is another concept that would be barred from textbooks. That would include instruction incorporating “identity and identity identification concepts,” managing emotion, developing relationships and social awareness.
The state’s process for adopting social-studies materials is slated to continue through April 2023. It is underway after the Department of Education drew national attention when it rejected proposed math textbooks for reasons such as the inclusion of critical race theory.
In an April 15 news release, the Department of Education reported 41 percent of math textbooks during an adoption process were rejected for reasons related to critical race theory, Common Core and social emotional learning.
“The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an alarming 71 percent were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies,” the news release said.
On Tuesday, the department posted an update to social media that said 88 percent of the math- textbook submissions have now been accepted, with 12 percent still being refused.
“Publishers are aligning their instructional materials to state standards,” the department said in a graphic that accompanied the post.
Free-speech organization PEN America issued a statement Wednesday criticizing the state about the math textbooks’ rejection.
Jeremy Young, senior manager of the organization’s Free Expression and Education program, said the rejection “demonstrates how broadly ‘educational gag orders’ can be wielded against a range” of educational materials.
“The rejections come in the midst of a multi-pronged effort to undermine faith in public schooling, and invoke terms that have become buzzwords for justifying censorship, but which remain vague and ill-defined. Math textbooks’ merit should be evaluated in terms of how effectively they help students learn mathematical concepts. Questions remain about the grounds for these rejections, and whether these removals are really about scoring political points,” Young said.
Democratic candidates vying to challenge DeSantis in the November election have criticized the governor over the textbook issue.
“DeSantis is banning math books, I want to expand Medicaid,” state Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried tweeted Wednesday.
–Ryan Dailey, News Service of Florida
Deirdre Rutledge says
So educating children about social justice issues and culturally responsive teaching will lead to student indoctrination, so are prohibited? Some people are pretty scared of the truth!
Apparently these people have never been disempowered as a group, or they would realize the essence of education should be to provide truth and knowledge (the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth) to our young people.
It’s interesting that politicians who don’t want students to be ‘indoctrinated’ are on the front line doing exactly that, as long as it makes them look good.
These are often the same people that say they shouldn’t have to wear masks or get Covid vaccinations because they have the basic human right to choose what they can do with their own bodies, even if it kills them and others.
Once the topic strays from masks and vaccinations, turns out other people should not have choices with what they can do with their own bodies, under no circumstances.
The list is long, but I think the essential message is there. Hypocrites and liars are facilitating legal changes to keep truth and human rights from being practiced in the state of Florida. It’s despicable.
DeSantis is not doing this all by himself, many people support this. The scariest part is he could actually win the next presidency and do to the rest of the country and the world what he’s doing to the state of Florida.
K thru 3rd grade does not need to learn any of this.
Time for all you social warriors to get over it.
“Companies vying to provide social-studies textbooks should “not attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a viewpoint inconsistent with Florida standards,” the guidelines say.” George Orwell must be rolling over in his grave.
I think the younger people are more accepting of each other, and that is frightening to some. Where did all the hippies go? I thought we were straightening that all out in the 70’s.
Living under Republican rule is like living in Qrazy Town. Living under Democratic rule is like living in Crying Town. How I pine for common sense.
More “small government” from the Republicans. DeSantis’ history text book will be easy. One page. White people cane to America. They lived happily ever after.
@Wow. . . Concise and to the point! DeSantis is a white supremacist wanna be demigod doing everything in his power to destroy Florida by taking away our rights, freedoms and education! Worse yet, his plan is to be Supreme Dictator of the entire country. The scary thing is the “cult” members would likely vote for him!
Mr Right says
So you are implying communists shouldnt be shot in the head? We have seen time and again that communism doesn’t work. You would think that you media people would be averse to the notion of promoting communism. The first people they kill are the media and teachers. Use China and Vietnam if you dispute that FACT. Love ya Pierre….you misguided fool.
Pierre Tristam says
Lt. Calley, extrajudicial killings and massacres were wrong then, they’re wrong now. Just because you got away with it, late-life remorse notwithstanding, doesn’t reset legal standards even in war, much as your vaunted government so effectively has since (black sites, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and still more civilian massacres). Florida’s history standards will suit you fine.
@ right (NOT!) . . . Please get educated! There’s plenty of horrific “INHUMANITY” to go around, and most certainly not just by Communists!
If all those committing atrocities and even genocide should be “shot in the head”. . . let’s start with the Christian zealots from Europe during their “colonization” of the Americas:
In addition, how about the many, many, “religious wars” such as the crusades and the “inquisitions”:
Last but NOT least there’s the “White Terrors”:
Various anti-leftist acts of violence:
First White Terror (1794–1795), a movement against the Jacobins in the French Revolution
Second White Terror (1815), a movement against the French Revolution
White Terror (Russia), massacres carried out by opponents of the Soviet government during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War (1918–1921)
White Terror (Bulgaria), the repression of the Communist September insurgency in the Kingdom of Bulgaria (1923)
White Terror (Hungary), a two-year period (1919–1921) of repressive violence by counter-revolutionary soldiers
White Terror (Spain), mass murders committed by the Nationalist movement during the Spanish Civil War and Francisco Franco’s rule
White Terror (mainland China), the period of political repression in China which was started in 1927 by the Republic of China/Kuomintang government
White Terror (Taiwan), the period of political repression in Taiwan which was started in the years of 1949 to 1992 by the Republic of China/Kuomintang government
White Terror (Greece), persecution of the EAM-ELAS between the signing of the Treaty of Varkiza in February 1945 and the beginning of the Greek Civil War in March 1946
White Terror (Finland), repression which was committed by the White troops both during and after the Finnish Civil War in 1918
Deborah Coffey says
“Companies vying to provide social-studies textbooks should “not attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a viewpoint inconsistent with Florida standards,” the guidelines say.”
According to DeSantis, textbooks should lie, just like he does…all the time. No “social justice?” That’s because there isn’t a living, breathing Republican alive that believes “All men are created equal.” DeSantis is getting more disgusting by the day!
So we can assume that certain historical facts such as the Japanese internment camps of WWII, the massacre of Wounded Knee, the destruction of Greenwood in Oklahoma, the riot in Wilmington N.C., and Mai Lai should be omitted?
And please do not mention Rosewood, Chicago in ’68, the Pullman Strike, Harlem in ’64, Kent State, Watts, Rodney King, Wall Street in Tulsa or hundreds of other events which “never happened”. My God it is our history, as disgusting as it may be, it is history which cannot be buried and must be studied lest we repeat it.
People, this is a dangerous path the RepubliClowns are taking the State down. Do you want the generations to come to be mindless morons praying to an Orange Messiah, lead by feeble minded followers goose stepping down hell? Vote, Vote every single election and call out your Representatives to stop this madness. From your local Council and Boards on up, it all starts local.
My sister will be starting a special after school program in Flagler County. She will strictly be teaching Critical Race Theory, and Social Justice. Anyone intrested in singing up can contact her directly. Classes will be for students k-12 starting this summer. There are supposedly a couple other similar type Schools opening soon in the area. The idea behind the movement is to “Keep the truth,for our youth”.
Pierre Tristam says
If she calls it a charter school and slaps on a bit of evangelical whirling dervishry between periods she could get DeSantis’s Department of Madrassas to pay for it and then some, but that might contradict the mission.
Great Mark1. . . hopefully your sister will be bringing the truth to our future leaders. What a great idea!
Michael Cocchiola says
If you want a good education for your kids, one that will prepare them to compete equally for top jobs in the global economy, better move out of the Free State of Florida or send them out of state for their education.
Tell our kids the truth. It’s not “indoctrination”, it’s knowledge.
I wonder how many of these books will be tossed because they portray Trumps’ activities while attempting to subvert the elections ‘in a negative manner’ ?
Goodness , I miss Joe Friday .. (“Just the facts, ma’am”)