Governor Ron DeSantis has launched a full-scale war against books he disagrees with.
The latest casualty — math textbooks. Yup. Even calculations have now offended the governor.
The Department of Education said it has found many math books containing “prohibited topics” such as references to critical race theory, a legal framework taught in graduate school and college-level law courses, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The education department approved only 78 textbooks out of 132, rejecting more than ever before, according to a press release. It rejected 54 for including critical race theory and other “prohibited subjects.”
“Reasons for rejecting textbooks included references to Critical Race Theory, inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning in mathematics,” the press release read. “The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an alarming 71% were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies.”
This troubled Broward School Board Member Sarah Leonardi, a frequent critic of the DeSantis administration, according to the Sentinel.
“It’s disturbing, borderline authoritarian, and definitely censorship,” Leonardi said. “Notably, it denies the existence of much of our student population. If state leadership made decisions with children in mind, they wouldn’t be engaging in these fallacious culture wars at all.”
According to Education Week, critical race theory is “the core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.”
The rejected math textbooks included word problems that cover racism and practicing empathy with others, according to examples released by the Department of Education.
DeSantis has attempted to ban critical race theory elsewhere as well, signing the Stop W.O.K.E. Activism Act into law earlier this year. It will supposedly give businesses, employees, children and families tools to “fight back against woke indoctrination.”
“It violates Florida standards to scapegoat someone based on their race, to say that they are inherently racist, to say that they are an oppressor, or oppressed or any of that and that’s good and that’s important. But we also have to realize that we have to do more to make sure that that actually carries the day in our classrooms and in our society,” DeSantis said in December 2021.
The Florida Education Department said it informed publishers last summer that textbooks “must align with the state’s new standards,” the Sentinel reported.
“It is unfortunate that several publishers, especially at the elementary school grade levels, have ignored this clear communication and have attempted to slip rebranded instructional materials based on Common Core Standards into Florida’s classrooms, while others have included prohibited and divisive concepts such as the tenets of CRT or other unsolicited strategies of indoctrination — despite FDOE’s prior notification,” the press release read.
DeSantis is no stranger to banning books and information. He recently signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law which bans classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3. However, it’s so loosely worded that it could affect any grade level.
In light of the “Don’t Say Gay” law, the Palm Beach County School Superintendent Mike Burke said he would pull two children’s LGBT books off the shelves in order to review them because they feature trans characters, even though the law takes effect in July.
DeSantis also signed the CS/HB 1467 bill which imposes school board term limits and grants parents and others the ability to object to books they don’t like in school libraries and the classroom.