Critical race theory is an advanced academic framework examining how overtly racist systems in America's past, such as slavery and segregation, contribute to current racial inequalities in American society today. The theory has become a major subject of hysteria from conservatives, driven by mischaracterizations of the theory's tenets and ubiquity in secondary schools.
Last summer, Florida's Department of Education banned the teaching of critical race theory from public schools—a move endorsed by the Sunshine State's far-right governor, Ron DeSantis. The Florida state legislature also passed the "Stop WOKE Act" earlier this year. The legislation—which DeSantis is expected to soon sign into law—bars tenets of critical race theory from being taught in classrooms and corporate trainings.
These actions have already resulted in the cancelation of lectures and copycat bills across the nation, but it's also resulted in the removal of dozens of math books rejected by Florida's Department of Education over concerns surrounding critical race theory.
In a press release claiming to counter efforts to "indoctrinate" Florida students, the Department announced that it rejected 41 percent of the 132 math textbooks submitted to it for approval.
The press release said:
"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."
DeSantis expressed support for the decision, accusing textbook publishers of trying 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."
Neither DeSantis or his team have been able to provide one legitimate example of math textbooks introducing critical race theory to Florida's children.
The governor's spokesperson, Christina Pushaw, has only pointed to a math worksheet based on the life of renowned poet Maya Angelou that was given to students in a Missouri school district without the approval of school officials. The district apologized for the error after parents complained that the book alluded to the abuse Angelou faced as a child.
Florida state representative Carlos G. Smith called out the governor's "propaganda machine" for failing to come up with examples, and others widely agreed.
People are still demanding examples.
Don't expect them any time soon.