Florida textbook ban: Districts choosing new options after state rejects some sources

Some school districts are beginning the process of replacing textbooks after the state issued new guidelines last week. 

The Florida Department of Education said it is rejecting some books amid concerns over the promotion of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and common core principles.

Seminole County school leaders are set to reconvene Wednesday to continue discussions about the books. 

Even as that process starts, both the district and FOX 35 News are digging for more specific answers about why a first-grade textbook was originally rejected. It's a big question mark that looms as staff try to pick another option. 

The district uses Savvas Learning for kindergarten through fifth-grade books. The textbook for first-graders is the one in question. 

RELATED: Reaction mixed after Florida releases excerpts of critical race theory in math textbooks

Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) chose the textbook series from an initial list of state-approved vendors, but the state updated the list this month, noting some books aren’t okay anymore. According to the state, a further review showed some books include CRT, social-emotional learning, or don’t meet updated academic standards. SCPS said it has reached out to the state and the publisher to get more information.  

FOX 35 News reached out to Savvas for additional comment and was sent this statement Monday: 

"Savvas has a long and successful track record of working with the Florida Department of Education to ensure that our instructional materials deliver high-quality, research-based pedagogy designed intentionally to align with Florida’s standards for mathematics. We are actively working with the Florida DOE to resolve any issues. We remain optimistic that our instructional materials for grades K-5 and 7 that were specifically developed to meet Florida’s B.E.S.T Standards, including the Mathematical Thinking and Reasoning Standards, will ultimately be accepted and delivered to our Florida customers, the school districts who are relying on our high-quality, blended, standards-aligned math programs."

The company didn't indicate what issue it was working to address. 

The state has released examples of text it said is "problematic." In one example, students use data on racial prejudice to solve math equations.  The Department of Education said these examples were provided by the public, but it didn’t offer any additional information. 

FOX 35 emailed the state, specifically asking about how it determined if text falls into the category of CRT and also where these examples were included in textbooks. We were told they received our request and would get back to us. 

That first meeting with SCPS starts at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.