May 10, 2022 - News

Searches for bias in Florida's math books yield ~zero

Illustration of math symbols in a trash can.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Journalists across the country have now had a few weeks to parse the math books Florida education officials rejected, some because they allegedly incorporated critical race theory.

  • But it’s clear that objectionable content was hard to find.

State of play: The Florida Department of Education hasn't clarified why 54 of the 132 books submitted for review were rejected. That's left teachers, publishers and journalists to try to find suspect passages.

Context: After a review of 21 of the books, the New York Times reported that most of the books never touched on race, much less CRT

  • Many included social-emotional learning content, a practice with roots in psychological research that tries to help students develop mind-sets that can support academic success.

The latest: After parsing some of the nearly 6,000 pages of reviewers' notes released by the state, the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald reported that the vast majority of reviewers saw no evidence of prohibited topics.

Yes, but: Volunteer reviewers with links to Conservative groups, like Moms for Liberty, flagged such content, the Times and Herald reported.

The intrigue: The Orlando Sentinel reported that only one reviewer complained. She called a pre-calculus book "agenda driven and biased" and complained one was "biased when it comes to global warming and climate crisis."

  • The Department of Education disputed the Sentinel's story, but the newspaper stands by it.
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