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Florida Department of Education rejects 71% of K-5 math textbooks

Press release from Florida Department of Education

Today, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran approved Florida’s initial adoption list for mathematics instructional materials properly aligned to Florida’s Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards. The approved list followed a thorough review of submissions at the Department, which found 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 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. Despite rejecting 41 percent of materials submitted, every core mathematics course and grade is covered with at least one textbook.

Overall, Florida is initially not including 54 of the 132 (41 percent) submitted textbooks on the state’s adopted list. The full breakdown is below:

  • 78 of 132 total submitted textbooks are being included on the state’s adopted list.
  • 28 (21 percent) are not included on the adopted list because they incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including CRT.
  • 12 (9 percent) are not included on the adopted list because they do not properly align to B.E.S.T. Standards.
  • 14 (11 percent) are not included on the adopted list because they do not properly align to B.E.S.T. Standards and incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including CRT.
  • Grades K-5: 71 percent of materials were rejected.
  • Grades 6-8: 20 percent of materials were rejected.
  • Grades 9-12: 35 percent of materials were rejected.

“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,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I’m grateful that Commissioner Corcoran and his team at the Department have conducted such a thorough vetting of these textbooks to ensure they comply with the law.”

“We’re going to ensure that Florida has the highest-quality instructional materials aligned to our nationally-recognized standards,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “Florida has become a national leader in education under the vision and leadership of Governor DeSantis. When it comes to education, other states continue to follow Florida’s lead as we continue to reinforce parents’ rights by focusing on providing their children with a world-class education without the fear of indoctrination or exposure to dangerous and divisive concepts in our classrooms.”

Florida’s transparent instructional materials review process ensures the public has the opportunity to review and comment on submitted textbooks. The instructional materials process allows Florida to prevent publishers from incorporating inappropriate, ineffective, or unsolicited concepts and strategies into instructional materials that will dilute the quality of Florida’s nationally-recognized education system.

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In 2019, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-32 to set Florida on the path to eliminate Common Core, develop world-class education standards, and increase the quality of instructional materials, and this textbook adoption is another important step in affirming Florida’s commitment to high-quality, lawful, and world-class instruction.

In 2021, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) called for bids from publishers to submit proposed 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. In fact, FDOE 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.

It is unfortunate that several publishers, especially at the elementary school grade levels, have ignored this clear communication and have attempted to slip rebranded instructional materials based on Common Core Standards into Florida’s classrooms, while others have included prohibited and divisive concepts such as the tenets of CRT or other unsolicited strategies of indoctrination – despite FDOE’s prior notification.

Although not included on the state’s initial adopted list, publishers have the ability to appeal any non-adoption decision. Publishers also have the ability to substitute or revise their submitted bids to be included on the state’s adopted list if the substitution or revision of submitted instructional materials ultimately meets Florida’s bid specifications.

To access more information regarding instructional materials, visit https://www.fldoe.org/academics/standards/instructional-materials/.

To access the complete list of the state’s current adopted list, visit https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5574/urlt/2122MathAdoptedMaterials.pdf.

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