Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched another attack against far-left ideology while his state’s education department offered evidence that critical race theory was being infused into the teaching of math in Florida schools.
In Hialeah Gardens, DeSantis signed House Bill 7, a little-talked-about piece of legislation but a key component in DeSantis and Florida conservatives’ all-out blitz on what the governor referred to as “woke indoctrination” in state schools.
Touted by DeSantis and Republicans as the first legislation of its kind, H.B. 7 designates compelled critical race theory training as an unlawful employment act – meaning schools cannot force such training upon employees and staff – and it creates another private cause of action by which parents, employees, or students might seek damages.
“No one should be instructed to feel as if they are not equal or shamed because of their race,” DeSantis said in a statement. “In Florida, we will not let the far-left woke agenda take over our schools and workplaces. There is no place for indoctrination or discrimination in Florida.”
Meanwhile, in response to demands for evidence that critical race theory was being used in 28 of the 54 K-12 math textbooks the state rejected last week, the Florida Department of Education released four examples from textbooks that the department says are indicative of an influx of critical race theory and other objectionable ideologies flooding Florida classrooms.
“Based on the volume of requests the Department has received for examples of problematic elements of the recently reviewed instructional materials, the following are examples provided to the department by the public and presented no conflict in sharing them,” a disclaimer on the department’s instructional material webpage reads. “These examples do not represent an exhaustive list of input received by the Department.”
Two of the examples were unambiguous in their use of common critical race talking points.
In one example, students were taught bar charts using examples that purported to track racial leanings among political ideologies and age groups. In another, a word problem, one that began with the phrase “What? Me? Racist?” used racial bias statistics to teach adding and subtracting polynomials.
The other two sample photos contain overt usage of Social and Emotional Learning, a teaching strategy that is currently not allowed in Florida.
“The Department is continuing to give publishers the opportunity to remediate all deficiencies identified during the review to ensure the broadest selection of high quality instructional materials are available to the school districts and Florida’s students,” the disclaimer reads.
The Florida Education Association, a teachers union, criticized the education department for having failed to provide adequate samples from elementary textbooks, the grade range from which the most books were removed.
“Those examples were given with no context and were not even elementary-level material,” The Guardian quoted FEA president Andrew Spar as saying. “So it seems like it’s more about smoke and mirrors of trying to accomplish a political agenda than really about what we are teaching our kids.”
H.B. 7 was also the source of consternation for Spar, who accused Florida lawmakers of focusing on ideological concerns at the expense of addressing the state’s need for more teachers.
“No matter where we live or what we look like, we all want what’s best for our kids,” Spar said. “Parents and educators want to help students grow into well-informed, successful adults who are equipped to think for themselves. The full, fair facts of history are part of a high-quality education,” said Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar. “For students to learn anything, however, we need to address the 9,000 projected teacher vacancies and more than 5,000 current vacancies for support staff in our public schools.”