On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported that Florida officials are finally revealing at least some of the reasons why 28 math textbooks are getting rejected under the state's draconian new laws abolishing the teaching of so-called "critical race theory" in public classrooms.
"Amid demands for documents from news organizations, requests for information from others and a bit of ridicule on Twitter and cable news, the state responded with follow-up emails to individual textbook publishers puzzled by what was objectionable about their products," reported Allie Pitchon. "At the same time the state informed individual publishers of what must be rectified, Florida provided a handful of examples on its Department of Education website."
"One example: A colored bar chart showing how levels of racial bias can vary by age group. It is part of a mathematical brain teaser involving polynomial models and is nestled on the bottom right-hand corner of page 56 in a pre-calculus online textbook consisting of more than 1,000 pages," said the report. "The book is not identified on the state’s website. That’s not allowed, the department indicated, adding the complaint about the chart originated with a member of the public. Two other examples that originated with public complaints make reference to Social Emotional Learning (SEL), a methodology wherein students try to get in touch with their emotions and demonstrate empathy for others."
According to the report, some publishers are still not satisfied with this clarification.
“We didn’t get notified ahead of time that anything was being rejected. We learned about all of this basically at around the same time that everyone else did,” said one publisher's media representative to the Herald. “Did they point out any specific pages or passages that had material that was not allowed? No. Nothing.”
"Critical race theory" is an advanced, college-level theory that seeks to outline how systemic racism informs many of the institutions and laws that built up in the United States over time. Republicans have attacked this concept, and also have tried to broaden its definition to include any mention of race in classrooms at all, or even sometimes just Black people working in schools.