After math textbooks were recently rejected by the Florida Department of Education because it said they contain “prohibited topics” like critical race theory, the department released examples of what was in those books.
Two math equations were released from two of 54 math books that were rejected by the state’s education department. In both of these examples, students are asked to interpret data, showing levels of racial prejudice. This kind of math is typically taught in eight or ninth grade algebra.
The students are asked to calculate bias using an algebra model. The varying levels are labeled “little or no bias,” “slight bias” or “moderate bias.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis calls this pernicious ideology.
“We’re here today because we believe in education and not indoctrination,” DeSantis said.
Speaking in South Florida, surrounded by students carrying “stop woke” and “stop CRT” signs — which stands for Critical Race Theory — DeSantis on Friday signed into law the Stop WOKE (Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees) Act. The legislation restricts how workplaces and classrooms handle discussions about race.
Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar says the examples the state points to are not examples of critical race theory.
“I don’t think these are real issues. I don’t think there’s any evidence to really back it up. I think they’re feeling pressure because everyone’s going, ‘What are you talking about critical race theory and math?’” Spar said.
Spar tells News4JAX that the state didn’t provide any context to the math equations and that the controversy over CRT is manufactured, saying a lot of the rejected books are already being used in Florida schools. He says the biggest change is modifying them to the recently adopted Florida BEST (Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking) Standards.
“I think what we’re seeing here is, anytime the word race is mentioned, anytime the color or ethnicity of someone who is mentioned in a textbook, are we going to say that’s a problem? And that’s not allowed? And are we then whitewashing history at that point?” Spar said.
DeSantis says eliminating language like this in math questions gives students freedom from indoctrination.
“And another thing that people will say is, ‘There is no course called CRT in our K-12 schools.’ And that is actually true. There are courses like that in law school, which is really where it should stay. But what we are doing is enumerating the principles of CRT being put into practice in a variety of subjects,” DeSantis said.
Spar says race is not just an issue that is embedded in history, but he says it’s an issue oftentimes in current events. He says teaching about race to age-appropriate students is a requirement of Florida education.
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