Florida’s education department reinstates 9 textbooks previously rejected over ‘prohibited’ content

Florida’s Education Dept. rejects 54 school textbooks for ‘prohibited topics’

The Florida Department of Education reinstated nine math textbooks that were previously rejected because the state said they contained “prohibited” content.

On its website, the state’s education department posted a message saying: “Publishers are aligning their instructional materials to state standards and removing woke content allowing the department to add nine more books to the state adoption list over the past 11 days.”

The state rejected 54 math textbooks and then released two examples that it says back up its rejection of the textbooks because they contained questions and exercises based on Common Core or critical race theory -- issues that opponents say are not actual problems.

The Common Core standards are benchmarks adopted by more than 40 states to describe what students should know after completing each grade. The standards were developed by the National Governors Association but became a frequent target of Republicans after the Obama administration pushed states to adopt them. Opponents contend Common Core includes inappropriate curriculum that is being forced on states. Florida adopted Common Core in the 2000s under Gov. Jeb Bush, who was a strong proponent. But it dropped Common Core in 2020 under Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said it was being replaced by “Common Sense.”

Critical race theory centers on the idea that racism is systemic in U.S. institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society. There is little to no evidence that critical race theory is being taught to K-12 public school students, though some ideas central to it, such as lingering consequences of slavery, have been.

DeSantis signed a bill Friday that bars instruction that makes members of a race feel guilty for past actions committed by people of that same race, and bars teaching that meritocracy is racist. It also expands language on requiring teaching on the history of slavery and racial oppression.

The state education department said that the math examples released last Thursday are not an exhaustive list of problems it says were reported in the rejected texts by parents.

According to FDOE, it is “continuing to give publishers the opportunity to remediate all deficiencies identified during the review to ensure the broadest selection of high quality instructional materials are available to the school districts and Florida’s students.”