Florida rejects 41% of submitted math books over CRT, other issues

The Florida Department of Education rejected textbooks, saying they include language that violates the state standards.
Public school in Arlington, Va.

The Florida Department of Education is rejecting more than 40% of the mathematics textbooks submitted to be used in the upcoming school year, citing critical race theory, Common Core and other language included in them that violate the state's new standards.

"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 department said in a news release.

After reviewing 132 submitted textbooks, the department found 54 of them – 41% – were in violation of the state's standards.

"The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an alarming 71 percent were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies," the department said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement that the rejected books included language that attempts to indoctrinate students.

“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. “I’m grateful that Commissioner [Richard] Corcoran and his team at the Department have conducted such a thorough vetting of these textbooks to ensure they comply with the law.”

In 2021, the department sought bids for mathematics instructional materials to be included on the state’s adopted list.

"Florida has been clear that instructional materials must first and foremost be aligned to Florida’s new B.E.S.T. Standards," the department announcement said. The department "proactively informed publishers in June 2021 that textbooks must align to the B.E.S.T. Standards, state laws regarding required instruction, and that they should not incorporate unsolicited strategies such as SEL in their instructional materials."

In 2019, DeSantis signed an executive order to eliminate Common Core standards in the state. This year, he signed legislation that bans classroom curriculum that includes teaching gender identity or sexual orientation to students in grades K-3.

"Despite rejecting 41 percent of materials submitted, every core mathematics course and grade is covered with at least one textbook," the department said.