Florida Department of Education rejects 41% of K-12 mathematics textbooks

The Florida Department of Education rejected 54 K-12 mathematics textbooks for reasons such as the inclusion of what it deemed prohibited instructional topics and the failure to align with state education standards. The rejected textbooks made up 41% of the 132 textbooks submitted to the education department for review. 

Twenty-eight books were rejected for the inclusion of what were deemed prohibited topics such as critical race theory, Common Core learning concepts, or Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Twelve books were rejected because they did not align with Florida’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards. An additional 14 books were rejected for both including prohibited topics and failing to meet the state’s benchmark standards. 

A press statement released by the Florida Department of Education said, “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.” Governor Ron DeSantis (R) expressed support for this decision and stated, “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. 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.” 

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) expressed opposition to the decision on Twitter. He wrote, “@EducationFL just announced they’re banning dozens of math textbooks they claim ‘indoctrinate’ students with CRT. They won’t tell us what they are or what they say b/c it’s a lie. #DeSantis has turned our classrooms into political battlefields and this is just the beginning.”

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Sexual education proposal at center of primary for Nebraska State Board of Education

Three candidates are running in the primary election for Nebraska State Board of Education District 7 on May 10, 2022. Those candidates are incumbent Robin Stevens, Pat Moore, and Elizabeth Tegtmeier. The two candidates to receive the most votes in the primary will advance to the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.

Stevens faced no opposition in 2018. Before serving on the board, he was an educator for 40 years, most recently as the superintendent of Schuyler Community Schools. Moore is a retired pastor. Tegtmeier is a former public school teacher who left the classroom to homeschool her children.

At the center of this primary is a March 2021 proposal that would have established statewide K-12 health education standards. The proposal included teaching all students about gender identity and stereotypes. High school students would have also learned about homophobia, transphobia, and sexual assault.

Supporters of the draft included the Women’s Fund of Omaha and OutNebraska, an LGBTQ advocacy group. Opponents of the draft included Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) and 28 members of the Nebraska State Senate. Ricketts and at least 14 state senators have endorsed Tegtmeier.

A second draft released in July 2021 eliminated the references to gender and sexuality opposed by Ricketts and state senators. In September 2021, the board voted 5-1 to pause the process of developing these new standards indefinitely. Stevens was one of the five who voted to pause the process.

Stevens told the Lexington Clipper-Herald that the board needed to re-establish public trust. “We didn’t do a good job early on of getting the health standards out to people, it hurt us and it hurt us badly. I understand that,” he said.

Tegtmeier said at a campaign event in Gothenburg that she chose to run in this election after hearing state Sen. Mike Groene speak about the proposed health standards. “I didn’t want to get 10 years down the road and have to tell my kids that I thought about doing something but just didn’t do it,” she said.

Moore told the Omaha World-Herald that the proposed health standards showed the board needed change. Moore said, “Some of the processes that have been in place I believe need challenged and some of the thinking the board members have need challenged.”