Florida censors math books for having progressive themes

The Department of Education Florida Rejected 54 Math Textbooks for Including “Critical Race Theory” and “Social-Emotional Learning”a measure that has received criticism considering that political reasons are hidden behind this decision.

Geometry and algebra have not been left out of the controversial decisions of the government headed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, and last Friday it was announced that 41 percent of the 132 books submitted for schools in grades one through twelve they had been rejected.

This Monday the organization of writers PEN America criticized this measure considering that “educational gag orders” they already reach a wide variety of educational materials, including mathematics.

This rejection “raises serious concerns about whether these decisions are made on the basis of pedagogy or politics,” considered Jeremy Young, manager of Freedom of Expression and the education program of PEN America.

This decision of the state government adds to the recent approval by the Legislature region of a controversial bill that prohibits the teaching of critical race theory in classrooms and gender ideology and gives parents the right to sue the schools where this education is taught.

“Race theory” is a set of notions and concepts used to understand and address inequality and racism in America, while “social emotional learning” (SEL) seeks to develop in the student “self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills for school success.” Other states such as Texas have rejected this type of book.

The figure of 41 percent of rejected books is a “record”, as recognized by the Department of Education itself of Florida, and many of them, whose titles were not disclosed, was due to the fact that they “incorporate forbidden themes or unsolicited strategies”, including critical race theory.

In the books presented for the primary education cycle, the rejection rate was 71 percent. The state representative, Carlos Smith, also criticized this measure and considered in a message on Twitter that DeSantis has turned classrooms into a “political battlefield”.

PEN America indicated that the “merit” of mathematics textbooks should be evaluated in terms of the “effectiveness with which they help students learn math concepts.

This decision came days after DeSantis enacted the controversial law popularly known as “Don’t Say Gay,” which prohibits teachers from addressing gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms between kindergarten and third grade.

From that grade of primary education both issues will be addressed in an “age-appropriate” way. And it also adds to the increasing number of school books that are being banned in public schools nationwide.

According to PEN America, Florida is the third state in the country – behind Texas and Pennsylvania – with the highest number of titles prohibited in schoolsthat mostly deal with sexual orientation and gender, racial, ethnic or religious identity.

The most “censored” author, according to this organization, is Maia Kobabe, for allegedly explicit sexual imagery in his autobiographical graphic novel “Gender Queer: a Memoir” about sexual identity, but also includes Pulitzer-winning Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel “Maus,” about the Jewish holocaust.

Among the writers most affected by these decisions at the national level are Andrés Miedosoauthor of “Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol”, and Ashley Hope Pérez, for his novel “Out of Darkness” (2015), which narrates a love story between a Mexican-American teenager and a young African-American.