State leaders provide examples of 'problematic' material in rejected math textbooks

The Florida Department of Education provided examples of what it calls "problematic elements" in recently reviewed math textbooks.

Math textbooks are reviewed every five years to make sure they meet state educational standards. This month the state announced it would reject 41% of mathematics textbooks submitted for use in the state's public schools citing critical race theory, inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning. 

The state said 26 were rejected because they didn’t align with educational standards and 28 were rejected for containing prohibited topics. Officials said the materials attempt to indoctrinate students.

"We want kids to learn to think so they get the right answer. It’s not about how you feel about the problem or to introduce some of these other things. Its – there’s a right answer and a wrong answer – we want all of our students getting the right answer," said Governor Ron DeSantis.

The department said the list is not exhaustive. The examples shared include math exercises showing bar graphs that measure racial prejudice by age and political affiliation.  

Advocacy groups said they question the state’s decision.

"The truth is the goal of reviewing math textbooks is to determine whether math textbooks are good at teaching math. None of what we saw in those images has any bearing on whether these textbooks are good at teaching math, and it's beside the point," Jeremy Young of PEN America.

The DOE noted that publishers can appeal their rejections.