MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Gov. Ron DeSantis is standing by the state’s Department of Education decision to reject more than 50 math textbooks from next school year’s curriculum after it cited references to critical race theory among reasons for the rejections.
Last Friday, the education department announced that 54 out of 132 textbook submissions, roughly 41 percent, would not be added to the state’s adopted list because they did not adhere to Florida’s new standards or contained prohibited topics.READ MORE: Former Substitute Teacher Enreeka Nalasco Accused Of Giving Drugs To Teen Girls For Sexual Favors
The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an “alarming” 71% were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics,” according to a statement from the education department.
On Monday, DeSantis said there were different reasons for the books being rejected and officials aimed to “focus the education on the actual strong academic performance of the students.”
“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, it takes our eye off the ball,” the governor said.
Reasons for rejecting textbooks included references to critical race theory, “inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics,” according to the education department.
DeSantis said state officials “got rid” of Common Core, a standardized teaching method rolled out in 2010. The method requires children to group numbers to solve arithmetic problems, rather than the vertical “carry the one” method familiar to most adults. The approach goes beyond simple computation to emphasize deeper mathematical concepts.
The education department said some of the rejected textbooks incorporated Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), a framework that some conservative groups claim is being used to indoctrinate students.
Some schools around the country have recently used SEL strategies to help students cope with stress and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.READ MORE: Renewed Call For More Safety Measures After Deadly Rickenbacker Causeway Crash
The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning defines SEL as a teaching framework aimed at helping “young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.”
More than a dozen states have set standards for teaching SEL in grade schools, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But as more states consider SEL strategies, conservative groups have claimed critical race theory is embedded into the framework.
Critical race theory has become widely politicized in recent years. Opponents argue the area of study is based on Marxism and is a threat to the American way of life. But scholars who study it say it explores the ways in which a history of inequality and racism in the United States has continued to impact American society today.
Educators in multiple states have argued critical race theory is generally not included in grade school teaching.
In Florida, lawmakers banned the teaching of critical race theory in schools in June 2021. At the time, DeSantis said allowing critical race theory in schools would teach children that “the country is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate.”
The law states instruction in schools must be “factual and objective.” It specifically prohibits “theories that distort historical events” — including “the teaching of Critical Race Theory, meaning the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons.”
Florida also banned teaching material from the 1619 Project, the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning project to reframe American history around the date of August 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on America’s shores.MORE NEWS: Divers Mark 20th Anniversary Of Sinking Spiegel Grove Off Key Largo
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