After going after math textbooks for what they thought were teachings of critical race theory, the Republican-influenced Florida Department of Education is now looking at social studies. Politico reports that the department recently issued guidance that textbook publishers should avoid CRT and social justice, on top of “culturally responsive teaching, social and emotional learning, and any other unsolicited theories.”
Critical Race Theory has never been a part of Florida’s school curriculum; however, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis has consistently made it a focal point – especially with the Stop Woke Act set to go into effect July 1st. Florida Democrats argue that prohibiting discussions of race “mirrors authoritarian governments.”
“Gov. DeSantis is bringing a brand of authoritarianism to Florida that Putin, Maduro, or Castro would applaud,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). Yet, the push to remake social studies continues with the June 10th deadline.
“Instructional materials should not attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students to a viewpoint inconsistent with Florida standards,” the education department wrote in its guidance. Textbook publishers have until June 10 to submit social studies proposals to the state, Politico reported Friday.
Education officials told publishers that all proposed social studies content must abide by the state’s rules outlawing critical race theory and similar teachings. They also want to avoid references to “social justice” in its textbooks and gave publishers a few examples to help guide them.
Social studies books may not utilize material from The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative,”
Issues of “privilege” or “oppression” should not be discussed as being “necessarily determined by race, color, sex or national origin.” The education department is also seeking to prevent social-emotional learning (SEL) from being taught, which aims to help students manage their emotions and develop strong relationships with peers.