Florida’s Department of Education has received so many requests for examples of material in math books that got them banned.
The Sunshine State announced April 18 that 54 mathematics textbooks out of 132, submitted for use by state schools, were rejected by its department of education. That represents 41 percent of all math book publishers that hoped to sell to Florida schools. The news generated a lot of controversy epitomized by The Washington Post opinion entitled, “DeSantis saves Florida kids from being indoctrinated with math.”
State education reviewers gave a thumbs down to 28 they claim incorporate forbidden topics or unsolicited strategies, such as Critical Race Theory. Another 14 were tossed because of similar reasons, along with not properly aligning with the state’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.). The other 12 were not added to the approved list because of discord with B.E.S.T. practices.
According to Florida’s Dept. of Ed. website, 71 percent of the materials submitted for K-5th grade math students were rejected. They disapproved 20 percent of books geared toward students in grades 6-8, and 35 percent of math books aimed at high school students were rejected.
In one textbook, a paragraph under a section talking about adding and subtracting polynomials describes the Implicit Association Test. (The graphic below is provided courtesy of Fla. Dept. of Ed.)
That test allegedly measures levels of “racial prejudice,” and the math book includes a graph suggesting conservatives are more likely to be racially biased.
Another two screen captures are provided by the department on its website. The text encourages students to build proficiency with social awareness and engage in social and emotional learning.
Florida began requiring textbook submissions from publishers in 2021 after DeSantis issued a 2019 executive order to eliminate Common Core Standards in the state.
“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,” said Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. “I’m grateful that Commissioner Corcoran and his team at the department have conducted such a thorough vetting of these textbooks to ensure they comply with the law.”
An education department spokesperson said the examples on the website do not represent an exhaustive list of public input received by them. The department is reportedly giving publishers opportunities to fix issues identified during its review.