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Florida officials reviewed math textbooks and made comments about race, climate, and records.
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Florida officials reviewed math textbooks and made comments about race, climate, and records.


TALLAHASSEE — One math textbook was After a review process, the state approved the applicationPhotos that depicted Blacks primarily in the role of athletes were shown.

Another, under the same vetting process, was flagged because it put an emphasis on racism being “embedded in American society.”

These are just a few of the nearly 6,000 pages of records released to the Florida Department of Education. They show how state reviewers determined if 132 math textbooks were suitable for Florida classrooms.

Related: A closer look at Florida’s rejected math textbooks

Florida 54 of those books were rejected because state officials said they contained “prohibited topics” from critical race theory to social-emotional learning. The Department of Education made the announcement in a press release that claimed publishers were attempting to “indoctrinate students” — and has only provided Four textbook pages showing the content it objected to.

The records released Thursday do not provide visuals of the objectionable content, but they offer detail on the state’s review process, what reviewers were offended by and why and, in some cases, underscored the political nature of the objections.

The majority of reviewers found no evidence of banned topics like critical race theory. This academic concept, which argues that racism is systemic, was not mentioned by most of the reviewers. Although the concept was banned in Florida last summer, it is not generally taught in K-12 schools.

Although the records contain names of reviewers and are available online, the Herald/Times will not publish their names as they cannot be immediately verified or reached to answer any questions regarding the reviews or the process.

One reviewer vetting a middle school math textbook said that the book met all of the state’s standards on critical race theory and justified it this way: “First example with a Black student pic is basketball. Most pictures are of white people, unless sports-related.” The book was approved by the state.

Another reviewer, though, found “critical race theory elements” in the pages of high school book and told the state it should be rejected solely on that basis.

The same reviewer said a high school math book — which the state rejected — contained CRT because it put an “emphasis that racism is embedded in American society,” pointing to a lesson plan’s answer that said, “The United States has eradicated neither poverty nor racism.”

The same reviewer said there was evidence of CRT in the math book because there was “no mention of the Federalist Papers to understand why the Electoral College was established.” This reviewer also said the book was “agenda driven and biased” because the author “talks about a climate crisis as if it’s a proven fact.”

“The American history of context is presented as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence,” the reviewer wrote.

Next the reviewer added this: “Example: Page 198 — Has multiple exercises regarding an argument between Al Gore and Rush Limbaugh. Within the text and questions, you can tell the author favors Al Gore and dislikes Rush Limbaugh based on questions.”

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In a statement, the Department of Education said reviewers selected by the state “must meet minimum professional qualification, and they must evaluate materials based on alignment with the state’s standards, as adopted in law and State Board of Education rule, additional state law pertaining to required instruction, and any additional bid specifications.”

The Herald/Times continues to examine the records provided the Department of Education. The Department recently approved 19 books that had been initially rejected, claiming that publishers had made changes and removed “woke content” from their books.

The department has not provided a definition for what it considers to be “woke content” and it did not provide the reviews that show exactly what changed in the book to align their content with the state’s standards.

This story will be revised.


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