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FDOE rejects ‘indoctrinating’ textbooks

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The Florida Department of Education has rejected more than 41 percent of the math textbooks submitted for adoption by publishers on grounds that the books do not meet Florida’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) standards, because they promote Critical Race Theory (CRT) or Common Core.

B.E.S.T. is the state’s plan to eliminate Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Common Core in Florida’s classrooms.

Common Core is a set of national educational standards for teaching English and mathematics in kindergarten through Grade 12 that focuses on what knowledge a student should acquire in each grade. CRT is a cross-disciplinary intellectual and social movement that examines the way race, society and the law have affected racial justice in the U.S. The theory claims that inherent or systemic racism exists in our society, extending from the advantages whites have over minorities.

Critics of CRT say that the theory is divisive and promotes racism.

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In 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order requiring that Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran review all instructional English and mathematics materials for students in grades K-12, and to adopt books aligned with the state’s policy to eliminate CRT and common core from Florida’s classrooms.

Since then, the FDOE has reviewed all books submitted by publishers for adoption by the agency for use in classrooms statewide. Some were rejected because they included references to CRT, or in the case of mathematics, contained “unsolicited additions of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL is a teaching methodology intended to promote student equity through self-awareness and interpersonal skills.

On April 15, Corcoran approved Florida’s initial adoption list for mathematics instructional materials that meet B.E.S.T. standards.

A total of 71 percent of the rejected books on the mathematics list were intended for use by students in grades K-5.

“Despite rejecting 41 percent of materials submitted, every core mathematics course and grade is covered with at least one textbook,” the FDOE office said in a written statement.

At the same time, 20 percent of materials intended for use in grades 6-8 were rejected, 35 percent of those intended for use in grades 6-8 were rejected, and 20 percent of the materials intended for use in grades 6-8 were rejected.

By contrast, 78 of the 132 total submitted textbooks are being included on the state’s adopted list, the FDOE statement said.

Corcoran said that the adopted list is intended to focus on quality student education and parents’ rights.

“When it comes to education, 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,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kara Floyd, Chair of the Hernando County Chapter of Moms for Liberty, said that the FDOE’s actions reflect a strong commitment to parental rights.

“We wholeheartedly agree with the recent Florida Department of Education’s decision to reject at least 41% of math textbooks meant to indoctrinate our children. Our chapter feels that this move by the FL DOE shows a strong commitment to abiding by the signing of recent laws by Governor DeSantis. It is also our opinion that the publishers that continue to push for the indoctrination of young children should be removed from future consideration of their educational textbooks by the state. This is the kind of action our local school district needs to be adopting when it comes to accepting books with prohibited topics into our school system. Our chapter looks forward to ensuring our school district abides by the laws that become effective on July 1st.”

To view the full list of the state’s current list of the state’s adopted textbook list, visit
https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5574/urlt/2122MathAdoptedMaterials.pdf.

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