The press has manipulated Florida’s rejection of math textbooks into a crisis for everyone but the people who actually and literally manufactured the problem: the textbook publishers themselves.
Leading with the highly-charged issue of Critical Race Theory, by press accounts, one would think that it was the only issue for which Florida rejected the 54 out of 132 texts.
The acronym “CRT” dominates the headlines about the rejection of the textbooks.
But in actuality, CRT was just one of many reasons why Florida rejected the textbooks. More likely, it was the inclusion of Common Core teaching and Social-Emotional Learning that led to so many rejections.
But it’s safe to say that the textbooks were rejected for failing to adhere to the textbook standards that Florida set.
“The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an alarming 71 percent were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies,” according to a statement by Florida’s Department of Education.
It may surprise people but textbook examples can’t just be shared by the state on Twitter.
It’s an infringement on the copyright and for the state, it’s probably an infringement on the agreement they have with textbook publishers not to copy their work without permission or disclose the contents through the process of approval or rejection.
DeSantis told the press that he would make examples public, but he respects the publishers’ right to revise and appeal the rejections.
“I would like it to be released, but I also respect the process,” DeSantis told reporters Monday, according to Politico.
The additional problem is that Critical Race Theory is not an overt curricula in math texts, but more a methodology that incorporates a “critical” review of everyday concepts like race, gender and power structures, and promotes the process of the group over individual results with an emphasis on feelings.
Math teachers who teach using CRT methodology are told to avoid certain techniques that white people use to keep Black people down.
These include, according to Equitable Math, the leading organization for CRT teachers’ instruction resources:
• Sense of Urgency
• Worship of the Written Word
• Either/Or Thinking
• Power Hoarding
• Fear of Open Conflict
• Progress is Bigger, More
• Right to Comfort
CRT contends that people of color can’t learn math the way it’s currently taught in schools and it’s used as a tool to keep control of Black students and keep them out of sciences, engineering and math.
White supremacy shows up, say the experts in CRT at Equitable Math when:
• There is a greater focus on getting the “right” answer than understanding
concepts and reasoning.
• Independent practice is valued over teamwork or collaboration.
• Contrived word problems are valued over the math in students’ lived experiences.
• Students are tracked (into courses/pathways and within the classroom). [standardized testing]
• Participation structures reinforce dominant ways of being
These are concepts that are not as dramatic as the word problems that incorporate pimps and crack and prostitutes that liberals want DeSantis to show as an example of CRT.
Unfortunately, DeSantis didn’t make it better by allowing spokesperson Christina Pushaw to tweet out an unrelated example of overt CRT teaching from Missouri that included references to Maya Angelou’s abuse by her mother’s boyfriend and her time working as a prostitute in math exercises.
But anyone who is familiar with Karl Marx, and his deconstruction of society through “critical” methodology will be familiar with the concepts behind CRT which values the group over the individuals and teaches people to question the most elementary concepts like gender and race as a part of a power dynamic meant to enslave people.
So any exercise in math that encourages the “critical” concepts listed above, even without mentioning race, are part of CRT — and thus rejected from inclusion in Florida’s curricula.