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.
Good lord @RonDeSantisFL what an embarrassment. https://t.co/p41jSmfQbo
— Rose Rivera, M.Ed. (@riverarose23) April 19, 2022
Thank you @CarlosGSmith for providing the detail regarding the CRT/Math book scenario Needless to say, this info is critical to a clear understanding of what led to that disastrous decision to ban the math textbooks How do people continue to get away with these blatant lies? https://t.co/xdcT1RzTjD
— DE’sMom (@1Madsam) April 19, 2022
They just make it up as they go. Trump proved there is no need for facts or proof of false assertions...they just scream louder. https://t.co/Z0jXCHA6sI
— Keke (@NoLiarInChief) April 19, 2022
Florida nimrod Ron DeSantis cannot show ANY evidence of CRT in Florida's math textbooks.
Maybe the Press could ask some questions and may Ron show his homework, and this isn't just a PR stunt. https://t.co/lG9KeH9a09
— Rube Bait (@RubeBait) April 19, 2022
Another massive problem with Desantis, Floridians need to hold him accountable and protect the state he is currently RUINING https://t.co/0wIWe1Q0TY
— DanniBirch80 (@DBirch80) April 18, 2022
People are still demanding examples.
It's the usual publishers and the usual titles on the lists. What we need to know are the specific reasons for the rejected titles along with specific citations of what the book had that the Department found objectionable.
— Gregory Sampson (@sampsongregory) April 18, 2022
Please show us an example of CRT in a math book. I need to see the reason books are being denied. My two cents: DeSantis is getting a kick back from a certain publisher and has already decided on a book. It has nothing to do with CRT. That’s just keeping the cult fired up.
— Kelly D (@KellDA) April 19, 2022
@GovRonDeSantis if you and FLDOE are going to ban these books, we the people need context. If a decision has been made that affects the public, the public must have access to the offending content, in the form that it was used, to determine that it was in violation of "BEST." https://t.co/SL94ia7ktt
— Ryandary | Grapes Bentley's Twin (@ryand4ry) April 19, 2022
Don't expect them any time soon.