The Florida Department of Education announced Tuesday that it rejected 35 percent of social studies textbooks. Why? They include content discussing the murder of George Floyd and the spark of Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida leaders are speaking up about how detrimental this can be to students in Florida and possibly, students nationwide.
A social studies book titled “New Calls for Social Justice” pitched for grades 6-8 was rejected for “unsolicited topics.” In the textbook’s description, the course addresses the way technology caused police violence to be spread more frequently in the media. It also addresses the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement which of course, includes the 2020 “racial reckoning” when George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many other Black people were slain by police. The report says the publisher removed this portion from the book in order for it to be approved.
What does this say to the students? Or other states who are evaluating textbook materials?
Read more from Miami Herald:
“Florida has five of the top 10 school districts in the country,” said Stephana Farrell, the director of research and insight at Florida Freedom to Read Project. “What happens in Florida — and the adjustments large textbook companies make at the state’s request – could have impacts on what’s adopted in other states, too. This is the chilling effect at work,” she said.
“Social studies has always been the subject area in which students learn present and historical facts, and express their ideas regarding these occurrences,” Miami-Dade County School Board member Steve Gallon III said of the textbook changes. “These things happened. They represent proven facts and served as catalysts for movements that changed this nation,” he said.
It’s completely unsurprising that this book would be rejected in the very state that spearheaded the movement against anti-racist teaching to “protect the children.” Though, students are using TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and every other media outlet that exposes them to what we see in the news.
Erasing something as historical as summer 2020 from the textbooks isn’t protecting students. It is encouraging them to be ignorant to why these things occur and ignoring the Black students who may experience these things firsthand.