Banned Florida Math Textbook Examples Revealed

Racial prejudice and emotional learning are just two of the many “banned subjects” labeled “prohibited” by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), which has revealed why it has banned 41 percent of new math textbooks.

Citing a wave of requests for examples of “problematic items” that prompted the FLDOE to ban all of these math textbooks, the department issued a list of examples that “did not constitute a conflict” when shared with the public .

In an exercise designed to teach students polynomials, a type of mathematical expression, the first few words that introduce the instructional instructions are blamed for mentioning the FLDOE’s “prohibited topics.”

“What? Me? Racist?” read the instructions before mentioning that students will work with a mathematical model that measures bias that has been used by over two million people to measure their racial bias through the Implicit Association Test to test.

Another example provided by the FLDOE again mentions the Implicit Association Test, this time with two charts providing scores for racial bias by age and by political identification.

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is present during the UFC 273 event at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena April 9, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. DeSantis said that math shouldn’t be “about feelings or ideologies.”
James Gilbert/Getty Images

Two other examples cited cite emotional learning – including “building social awareness skills” and “exercises to empathize with classmates” among students – as evidence of the math textbooks’ alleged attempt to indoctrinate students, the FLDOE said.

One example speaks of building a student agency “that focuses on students’ social and emotional learning.”

Last Friday, the FLDOE announced in a press release that it was rejecting 54 of the 132 new math textbooks submitted for approval this year — the highest number of banned textbooks in the state’s history. The press release was titled “Florida Rejects Publishers Attempts to Indoctrinate Students.”

According to FLDOE, it was references to Critical Race Theory, the inclusion of Common Core, and the “unsolicited addition” of “Social Emotional Learning” that led them to reject all of these books. Some books just didn’t meet Florida’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking, a set of standards set by the state.

Critical Race Theory is an academic theory developed in the 1980s that analyzes systems, institutions, and power in the United States through the lens of historical racial prejudices that have influenced society and persist in many forms today.

The theory has become a central theme of the so-called culture struggles, which are mainly discussed in school classes.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis accused some publishers of trying to “paint an old house built on Common Core foundations and indoctrinate concepts like racial essentialism, bizarrely especially to elementary school students.”

DeSantis issued an executive order in 2019 abolishing Common Core — a national set of reading, writing, and math standards — in Florida schools and replacing it with Florida Standards.

On Monday, DeSantis tweeted, “Math is about finding the right answer, not about feelings or ideologies. In Florida, we will educate our children, not indoctrinate them.”

The FLDOE said it is providing publishers with an opportunity to “correct any deficiencies found during the review” and provide redress “to ensure that school districts and Florida students have the widest possible choice of quality educational materials.”

The publishers affected by the FLDOE rejections are Accelerate Learning, Bedford Freeman and Worth Publishing Group, Big Ideas Learning LLC, Cengage Learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Math Nation, McGraw Hill LLC and Savvas Learning Company LLC.

DeSantis also recently targeted Disney for publicly opposing a new Florida education law that critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

news week has asked the FLDOE and the publishers concerned for comments. Banned Florida Math Textbook Examples Revealed

Rick Schindler

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