Rejected: These are the math books Florida officials claim ‘indoctrinate’ students

Education leaders have not specified why they rejected 54 textbooks

The state said 41% of the submitted textbooks included references to critical race theory, common core and social emotional learning.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Three days after the Florida Department of Education issued a press release proclaiming “Florida Rejects Publishers’ Attempts to Indoctrinate Students,” the state agency released a list of 54 math books it has rejected for use in classrooms.

Although education officials claim some of the textbooks were rejected because they contained references to “prohibited” topics such as Critical Race Theory, state officials did not immediately provide records specifically detailing why each of the 54 math books was barred.

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According to Gov. Ron DeSantis, some of the textbooks were rejected because they did not meet current state educational standards.

“We got rid of Common Core,” said DeSantis.  “We have B.E.S.T. standards, which is a better way to do a lot of things, but particularly math. One of the criticisms was their parents couldn’t help with the math homework.”

But 26 of the rejected math books included “Special Topics,” according to the list of books that were not recommended for K-12 mathematics instruction.

According to a rubric used by reviewers to evaluate math books, those “Special Topics” include Critical Race Theory, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Social Justice, and Social Emotional Learning.

“We don’t want things like math to have some of these other concepts introduced,” said DeSantis.  “It’s not been proven to be effective, and quite frankly it takes our eye off the ball.”

Approximately every five years a team of three reviewers is appointed by Florida’s Commissioner of Education to evaluate newly-published textbooks in a particular subject area.

Parents and other citizens can see how reviewers evaluated approved textbooks by logging on to the state’s online evaluation portal.

However, detailed evaluations for textbooks that were not approved by the state, including the 54 recently rejected math books, do not appear on the online portal.

News 6 submitted a public records request Monday with the Florida Department of Education seeking detailed evaluations of the 54 rejected math books. State officials have not yet produced those records. You can see the list below.

About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades.