May 15, 2023

DeSantis Removes Progressivism From School Textbooks, Line by Line

Florida's Education Department rejected dozens of textbooks and worked with publishers to edit many others.
DeSantis Removes Progressivism From School Textbooks, Line by Line

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What’s happening: Florida's Education Department announced last Tuesday that it had rejected dozens of social studies textbooks and worked with publishers to edit many others. It’s the latest effort by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to remove contested topics from educational materials, particularly those that he refers to as "woke indoctrination" with a leftist agenda, including race and social justice.

Serious scrutiny: Originally, state officials rejected 82 out of 101 submitted textbooks because of the content. Then, under DeSantis, the state collaborated with publishers to rewrite problematic passages, approving 66 books after that. Thirty-five textbooks were still rejected after undergoing the editing process. It’s not a new effort: Last year, Florida rejected numerous math textbooks for touching on prohibited subjects, such as critical race theory.

Examples of the changes made in the textbooks include:

  1. Police brutality: An elementary school textbook's "home support" guidance on discussing the national anthem was removed. It originally suggested that parents could use the opportunity to talk about those who "take a knee" to protest police brutality and racism. Florida officials deemed this content age-inappropriate.
  2. Socialism: A textbook on various economic systems was edited to remove a description of socialism as maintaining things "nice and even" and potentially fostering greater equality. Officials flagged this description as inaccurate and removed all mentions of "socialism" from the text.
  3. Black Lives Matter: A middle school textbook was stripped of a passage discussing the Black Lives Matter movement, the murder of George Floyd, and its societal impact. The removed passage acknowledged both support and criticism of the movement. Florida officials argued that this passage included "unsolicited topics."
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