Can math be racist?
Last Friday (April 15, 2022) Florida's Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced dozens of math textbooks were rejected by the Florida Department of Education after reviewers said their publishers were attempting to indoctrinate students.
Here’s a link to the approved list https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5574/urlt/2122MathAdoptedMaterials.pdf .
The approved list followed a thorough review of submissions at the Department, which found 41 percent of the submitted textbooks were impermissible with either Florida’s new standards or contained prohibited topics – the most in Florida’s history. Reasons for rejecting textbooks included references to Critical Race Theory (CRT), inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics. The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an alarming 71 percent were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies. Despite rejecting 41 percent of materials submitted, every core mathematics course and grade is covered with at least one textbook.
As the Department’s news release noted, in 2021 the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) called for bids from publishers to submit proposed mathematics instructional materials to be included on the state’s adopted list. Florida has been clear that instructional materials must first and foremost be aligned to Florida’s new B.E.S.T. Standards. In fact, FDOE proactively informed publishers in June 2021 that textbooks must align to the B.E.S.T. Standards, state laws regarding required instruction, and that they should not incorporate unsolicited strategies such as Social Emotional Learning in their instructional materials.
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 tenants of CRT or other unsolicited strategies of indoctrination – despite FDOE’s prior notification Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s office said in their release announcing the vastly reduced approved textbook list.
Overall, Florida is initially not including 54 of the 132 (41 percent) submitted textbooks on the state’s adopted list. The full breakdown is below:
78 of 132 total submitted textbooks are being included on the state’s adopted list.
28 (21 percent) are not included on the adopted list because they incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including CRT.
12 (9 percent) are not included on the adopted list because they do not properly align to B.E.S.T. Standards.
14 (11 percent) are not included on the adopted list because they do not properly align to B.E.S.T. Standards and incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including CRT.
Grades K-5: 71 percent of materials were rejected.
Grades 6-8: 20 percent of materials were rejected.
Grades 9-12: 35 percent of materials were rejected.
“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,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I’m grateful that Commissioner Corcoran and his team at the Department have conducted such a thorough vetting of these textbooks to ensure they comply with the law.”
CRT was banned from Florida classrooms by the state’s Board of Education last year, for example. Following the move, DeSantis claimed CRT was “state-sanctioned racism” and that it “teaches kids to hate our country and to hate each other.”
Last month, the Florida legislature approved DeSantis' bill against outlaw teachings that assert certain individuals are 'inherently racist [or] sexist] – or 'morally superior'. It is also prohibited to characterize individuals' status as 'privileged' or 'oppressed' based on their race, sex or national origin'.
“We’re going to ensure that Florida has the highest-quality instructional materials aligned to our nationally-recognized standards,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “Florida has become a national leader in education under the vision and leadership of Governor DeSantis. When it comes to education, other states continue to follow Florida’s lead as 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.”
Florida’s transparent instructional materials review process ensures the public has the opportunity to review and comment on submitted textbooks. The instructional materials process allows Florida to prevent publishers from incorporating inappropriate, ineffective, or unsolicited concepts and strategies into instructional materials that will dilute the quality of Florida’s nationally-recognized education system.
To access more information regarding instructional materials, visit https://www.fldoe.org/academics/standards/instructional-materials/ .
To access the complete list of the state’s current adopted list, visit https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5574/urlt/2122MathAdoptedMaterials.pdf.
Critical Race Theory
Math Text books
Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Gov. Ron DeSantis