Florida Rejects Nearly Half Of All New Math Textbooks, Citing CRT And Other Issues

In another historic move for education reform, Florida banned nearly half of all math textbooks, citing CRT and other issues.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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math textbooks

It didn’t take long for the state of Florida, helmed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, to get to work implementing new education reformation measures signed into law recently – controversial or not. On Friday, April 15th, the Florida Department of Education announced another historic move for the Sunshine State’s education. It announced nearly half of all of the approved math textbooks were now rejected, citing critical race theory among numerous other reasons for doing so.

According to Yahoo News, Florida’s Department of Education (DOE) rejected 41% of math textbooks. Spawning from a 2019 executive order from Gov. DeSantis aimed at eliminating Common Core standards in the state, Florida called for new textbook submissions from publishers in 2021. Unfortunately, the DOE has now received and reviewed those submissions, and quite a few don’t meet the state’s standards.

math textbooks

In a statement accompanying the rejected math textbook announcement, DeSantis said, “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.” Similarly, the notice states that the majority of the textbooks that were rejected were material aimed for grade levels K to fifth grade. Under this group, a startling 71% of approved materials were rejected.

One of the major reasons cited for the non-acceptance of the math textbooks was critical race theory, which was determined to be referenced in some of the rejected textbooks. Critical race theory has been a hot politicized topic this year in education reform. Advocates for the teaching of this controversial topic say that it explores how the history of inequality and racism within the United States perpetually influences society today. But those against it see things much differently. They say that it is a study based on Marxism that tries to teach white people they are inherently racist. 

math textbooks

Florida first banned the teaching of critical race theory from math and all textbooks in schools in June of 2021. Feeling that it wasn’t enough, DeSantis once again pushed to even further to cement the notion that Florida would not tolerate any CRT indoctrination in classrooms, by adding the verbiage into his push for the Parental Rights in Education bill, known by many as the Don’t Say Gay Bill. The bill was signed into law on March 28th. Predominantly covering gender identity and sex education – more so banning it in its entirety for children grades three and under – the governor often packaged it as a further means to rid not only CRT but social and emotional teachings as well.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) was also a cited reason for some of the rejected math textbooks. Social and emotional learning is just what it sounds like. It is an educational practice that integrates social and emotional skills into the curriculum to foster students’ healthy habits. There has been a big push for more SEL in schools since reports suggest that the pandemic held a huge mental toll on students of all ages, but proponents believe it is a disguise for educators to sneak CRT and gender indoctrination beliefs into curriculums. 

The broad math textbook rejection was historic for Florida, as they have never before barred as many textbooks from curriculums as they did this year. Under the press release, the DOE announced that each grade did have at least one accepted textbook for use. But with many teachers in the state fed up with the rigid restrictions being placed on education, many educators are once again left with fewer tools and resources to teach with.