Florida's Department of Education (DOE) has rejected 41 percent of the materials proposed for teaching mathematics in the upcoming 2022-2023 school year for kindergarten through 12th grade statewide, the DOE announced Friday.
The materials, the state's Education Department stated, had been rejected because of references to critical race theory (CRT), inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics.
In a press release titled "Florida Rejects Publishers' Attempts to Indoctrinate Students," Florida's DOE stated that these materials were in line with Common Core principles that had been repudiated in prior years by the adoption of the state's Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.).
Florida has quickly responded to mounting concerns that public education has been used in the past to intentionally shape the thinking of impressionable young students. At the forefront of those concerns, critical race theory has become a lightning rod for concerned parents all across the United States.
"41 percent of the submitted textbooks were impermissible with either Florida’s new standards or contained prohibited topics – the most in Florida's history. 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 DOE statement reads.
Gov. Ron DeSantis rode that wave of concern to implement new standards in Florida. He issued 2019 Executive Order 19-13 setting a shift in Florida's standards of education. The order had requested that the state's Education Commissioner comprehensively evaluate Florida's educational standards from K-12 and recommend a course of action to improve them.
The changes materialized into the B.E.S.T. standard.
Alongside efforts to improve the reading comprehension and streamline standardized testing, the recommendations outlined by the order reported back that they would aim to "identify opportunities to equip high school graduates with sufficient knowledge of America's civics, particularly the principles reflected in the United States Constitution, so as to be capable of discharging the responsibilities associated with American citizenship."
In response to the newly rejected materials, DeSantis noted that Florida would not so easily allow public schools to reintroduce Common Core ideas that had been weeded out. "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," DeSantis said in a press statement.
The Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran, echoed the Florida governor's remarks. During their development, Corcoran had played a significant role in outlining the B.E.S.T standards. "We're going to ensure that Florida has the highest-quality instructional materials aligned to our nationally-recognized standards," Corcoran said in a statement.
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