Florida textbook reviews: One person noted CRT concerns in two textbook reviews

Nearly 6,000 pages of documented reviews of various math textbooks potentially used in Florida schools were released this week by the Florida Department of Education. Reviewers were tasked with looking at textbooks and judging the material on its effectiveness for its intended grade level, while also looking for instances – or not – of critical race theory, which is prohibited in Florida schools.

These reviews are then used to determine whether a textbook will be accepted, modified, or rejected in Florida schools, according to the Florida Department of Education. 

Of the nearly 6,000 pages released – and reviewed by FOX 35 – a majority of the reviewers noted few, if any, instances of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the textbooks, specifically the ones dealing with math. The math textbooks have been spotlighted in recent news reports after the Florida Department of Education initially rejected some textbooks and later reinstated some.

Under the "special topics" section, there were four questions having to do with CRT or SEL:

  • Do materials align to Rule 6A-1.094124, F.A.C., which prohibits Critical Race Theory (CRT), in instructional materials?
  • Do instructional materials omit Culturally Responsive Teaching as it relates to CRT, as explained in the reviewer training?
  • Do instructional materials omit Social Justice as it relates to CRT, as explained in the reviewer training?
  • Do instructional materials NOT solicit Social Emotional Learning (SEL), as these are considered extraneous and unsolicited outside the scope of subject-area standards?"

Most responses were a combination of: "I did not see any evidence of Critical Race Theory," "No evidence of CRT," "the materials are unbiased and do not encompass CRT," "Meets criteria," "Aligned," or some combination of those phrases.

One reviewer, Chris Allen, reviewed Thinking Mathematically, a textbook intended for Grades 9-12, objected to the textbook and noted "many lessons and topics that are inappropriate for school aged children," according to the review. Allen also alleged "this book is agenda driven and biased to the issues the author considers ‘important." (Bids 390-420, page 476).

In another textbook review for Precalculus, Allen objected to portions of that book because it "Uses magazines, mainstream media, and biased non-profit for it’s (sic) data in questions, examples, and lessons. Not many reputable, unbiased data collection agencies like CDC, US Census, US departments, etc." 

"The book presents racial bias as implicit, global warming as fact based on old data, pushes for vaccine as the only way to stop coronavirus of 2020 (nothing of natural immunity), contains political bias, and gender bias," Allen noted in another section. However, in a majority of the other sections, Allen gave both books positive ratings.

In reviewing Math Nation: Florida's B.E.S.T. 7th Grade Accelerated Math, Rachel Schrimsher noted no CRT bias, but did note that the warmup activity in one section "includes a controversial topic regarding equal pay and discrimination." 

You can review all 6,000 documents below: