Florida's Department of Education released four excerpts from rejected textbooks that contain critical race theory and other topics they deemed unacceptable.
Last week, the Florida Department of Education announced that they had rejected 41% of textbooks from publishers, citing content deemed inappropriate by the department. The content in question? Critical race theory, social emotional learning, and the common core.
Initially, the department did not release any examples of the rejected material and were called out for the lack of transparency. On Friday, the department released four examples of “prohibited” material in textbooks they rejected.
The Department placed a disclaimer along with the examples, stating that, “Based on the volume of requests the Department has received for examples of problematic elements of the recently reviewed instructional materials, the following are examples provided to the department by the public and presented no conflict in sharing them. These examples do not represent an exhaustive list of input received by the Department.”
One of the examples includes a bar graph depicting levels of Implicit Association, a test that measures levels of racial prejudice. An additional example, presumably linked to this bar graph, discusses the test, noting that “More than 2 million people have tested their racial prejudice using an online version of the Implicit Association Test.”
Another prohibited textbook snippet contains a learning objective that says, “Students build proficiency with social awareness as they practice with empathizing with classmates.”
The fourth example, which contains a redacted word, is a learning objective aimed at building student agency by “focusing on students’ social and emotional learning.”
The department did not specify which textbooks or provide further context to the examples.
In June 2021, the Florida Board of Education adopted an amendment that bans educators from teaching CRT, which the department defines as “the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons.”
Conservatives in states like Missouri, Idaho, and Tennessee followed Florida Governor Rick DeSantis’ lead and introduced legislature that bans critical race theory from being taught in classrooms, and the anti-CRT movement has only been growing. According to ABC, 35 states in total have signed into law or introduced legislation banning or restricting teaching critical race theory.
It is also worth noting that only one publisher, Accelerate Learning, has been approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education for K-5 mathematics. The Houston, Texas, based publisher was acquired by the Carlyle Group in 2018. According to Tallahassee Democrat, “During that time, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin was the co-CEO of the firm. After 25 years with the company, Youngkin resigned in 2020 to run for office in Virginia.”
“The first thing Youngkin did as governor of Virginia was sign an executive order to "end the use of inherently divisive concepts, including critical race theory, and restoring excellence in K-12 public education in the commonwealth," a measure that's comparable to DeSantis' "Stop WOKE Act."