In a statement released Friday, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) announced it had rejected 41% of K-12 math books for not meeting Common Core standards and/or for “indoctrination” or “exposure to dangerous and divisive concepts,” aka critical race theory (CRT).
The April 15 document outlines that of the 132 textbooks submitted to FDOE, 54 were rejected, with 28 denied “because they incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including CRT.”
Twelve of the math books were tossed after claims by FDOE that they did not meet Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards, adopted in 2019 to replace Common Core, but none of the titles of the books were included in the statement.
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“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,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “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.”
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Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, who is a former House speaker appointed by DeSantis, wrote that “Florida has become a national leader in education under the vision and leadership of Governor DeSantis.” He added, “When it comes to education, other states continue to follow Florida’s lead as we continue to reinforce parents’ rights by focusing on providing their children with a world-class education without the fear of indoctrination or exposure to dangerous and divisive concepts in our classrooms.”
In an op-ed for the Florida Phoenix, writer Diane Roberts called Corcoran “grossly unqualified,” citing his lack of experience in education and his ongoing attacks on public schools over charter schools.
Corcoran announced he will leave his position at the end of the year.
As has been reported numerous times, CRT is not taught in K-12 but is a graduate-level law school subject. DeSantis, who will likely run for president in 2024, has continued to report otherwise and tagged any sort of teaching about race and racism as CRT. He has gone so far as to write laws banning CRT in the classroom and offering parents the right to sue teachers if they believe it’s being taught.
In December 2021, DeSantis gave a press conference to announce his “Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees Act,” aka the Stop W.O.K.E. Act.
"Our legislation will defend any money for K-12 going to CRT consultants," the governor said at the time. "No taxpayer dollars should be used to teach our kids to hate our country or hate each other."
"They want to tear at the fabric of our society and our culture," DeSantis warned. "They want to delegitimize the founding of the country and the Constitution." He added that the term "equity" is used to mask critical race theory and is used by people to "smuggle in their ideology.”
In March, the Stop W.O.K.E. Act, aka “Individual Freedom” bill, was approved by the state Senate in a vote of 24-15 along party lines, and once signed by DeSantis, it will take effect July 1, 2022.
NPR reports that several Florida Democrats blasted the FDOE for banning the math books.
State House Rep. Carlos Smith tweeted in part: “#DeSantis has turned our classrooms into political battlefields and this is just the beginning."
State Sen. Shevrin Jones tweeted: “Apparently CRT is being taught in mathematics in Florida, so the @EducationFL has banned some of the math books. No, this is not 1963, it’s 2022 in the “Free State of Florida.”