Florida DOE adopts textbooks previously denied over ‘information that was not aligned with Florida Law’

The Florida Department of Education has announced that it has approved more than 60 percent of the submitted social studies educational materials to be used in the state.

This figure is significantly higher than the 19% approved materials by the state one month ago. Since then, the state has worked with publishers on revising materials to comply with Florida standards.

In a recent statement, State Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. stated that Florida has been praised for its leadership in education. This includes the number one ranking from U.S. News & World Report.

He said that in order to maintain our high standards, it was important for our students and educators to have access only the best materials. These materials should be based on historical facts without any ideological or inaccurate rhetoric.

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According to the state, 101 books have been submitted and only 19 have been adopted as of 6 April. In the past month, 47 additional books have been approved, bringing the total to 66 books approved by Monday.

In order to comply with the state guidelines, the state provided examples of materials that were rejected and what was replaced.

The state provided a first example in which a paragraph was included in an elementary school book that explained how parents could discuss the national anthem, and more specifically, “why some citizens choose to ‘Take A Knee’ in protest of police brutality and racist behavior.” This paragraph was part of a page where parents were asked to discuss symbols for the United States and Florida. The revised version removed the paragraph.

The state also cited a “misrepresentation of socialism,” in materials intended for grades 6-8. The original material described socialism in terms of “keeping things nice, even and without waste” and that socialist societies “promote equality among people.”

Some examples are materials aimed at grades 6-8. The material asked “what social issues are found in the Hebrew Bible” and was replaced by “what key principles are found in the Hebrew Bible”.

The material for grades 9-12 that called China, Cuba and the former Soviet Union “so-called Communist governments” was also changed. The revision removes “so called”.

The state’s final example included a section on “New Calls for Social Justice.” This section discussed the founding of Black Lives Matter as a group that “called for a stop to systemic racism, white supremacy,” and made references to George Floyd’s death in 2020. This entire section, according to the state, was deleted in the revision approved.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-FL, has made education a priority in his first term and will continue to do so into his second.

DeSantis is particularly tough on curriculum, initially rejecting a course for Advanced Placement on African American Studies because it contained “ideological materials.”