54 math textbooks rejected by Florida education officials for attempting to ‘indoctrinate students’

ByElizabeth J. Bohn

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Gray News) – The Florida Department of Education has rejected dozens of math textbooks because state officials say the publishers are attempting to “indoctrinate students.”

The department did not initially include 54 of the 132 submitted textbooks, according to a news release from the Florida Department of Education.

The department said it found that 41% of the submitted textbooks were “impermissible” with Florida’s new Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) standards or contained prohibited topics, which the department says includes references to Critical Race Theory (CRT), inclusions of Common Core and the addition of Social Emotional Learning.

According to the department, grades kindergarten through fifth grade had the most rejected material.

The department states 41% of the submitted textbooks included references to critical race theory, common core and social emotional learning. The state said grades K-5 had the most materials rejected.

“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,” Governor Ron DeSantis said in the release. “I’m grateful that Commissioner (Richard) Corcoran and his team at the Department have conducted such a thorough vetting of these textbooks to ensure they comply with the law.”

The Florida Education Department says the public has the opportunity to review and comment on submitted textbooks. The process allows the state to prevent publishers from incorporating inappropriate, ineffective or unsolicited concepts and strategies into instructional materials that will “dilute the quality of Florida’s nationally-recognized education system.”

The math textbook submissions were made in response to a 2021 call for bids for instructional materials to be included on the state’s adopted list. A message was included by the department which included a message informing publishers that the materials must “not incorporate unsolicited strategies, such as social-emotional learning and culturally responsive teaching.”

Publishers who may not be included on the state’s initially adopted list have the ability to appeal any non-adoption decision, the department says. Publishers also have the ability to substitute or revise their submitted bids to be included on the state’s adopted list if changes are made to fit Florida’s standards.

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