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Florida Rejects Over 50 Math Textbooks, Citing Critical Race Theory Among the Reasons

On Friday, April 15th the Florida Department of Education announced that it had rejected over 50 math textbooks from being included in next year’s curriculum. This was 41% of the 132 books under review, and among other reasons they cited critical race theory as reasoning for rejections. The rejection amount is the highest in Florida’s history and is a reflection of the state’s new standards for curriculum topics.

A statement concerning the reasoning claimed there were, “inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics”. SEL is the integration of social and emotional skills school curriculums, prioritizing this kind of education at the same level as other subjects such as math, science, and reading. It began in the 1960’s, but has recently fallen under much criticism, particularly from conservatives who believe it is a gateway for allowing negative ideas such as “anti-white racism” into the classroom.

Since last year, at least 12 laws have been passed in several states in an attempt to restrict the teaching of topics like racism, sexism, and gender identity. Likewise, over 100 bills have been proposed aimed at achieving the same thing. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis said, “We don’t want things like math to have, you know, some of these other concepts introduced. It’s not been proven to be effective and quite frankly takes our eye off the ball”. 

Despite many educators across the country arguing that topics which fall under Critical Race Theory are not commonly taught at a grade school level, curriculum bans are becoming increasingly common. Kimberlé Crenshaw who is a founding critical race theorist and law professor describes it as, “an approach to grappling with a history of white supremacy that rejects the belief that what’s in the past is in the past”. However, many who oppose this ideology fear it is a threat to the American way of life, and that even math books have become politicized.

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