Ross: Finding the critical race theory in Florida’s rejected math textbooks

Apr 22, 2022, 7:20 AM
Florida governor Ron DeSantis (Getty Images)...
Florida governor Ron DeSantis (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The State of Florida this week released its list of rejected textbooks, including mathematics texts which were rejected for including “prohibited topics”.

The state is not banning these books, but Governor DeSantis says taxpayers can’t be expected to pay for them because they are mixing mathematics with critical race theory and social skills training to indoctrinate children.

When asked to give examples of this, he declined saying he wanted to “respect the process.”

However, a web site called Popular Info managed to get a look at 8 of these books – and it’s true – there are things in these books that go beyond arithmetic.

For example, in one of the rejected 5th grade texts, there’s an illustration of three diverse children with the caption: “When we do math, we work together; we listen to our friends and teachers.”

Other textbooks tell students it’s important to “share ideas and value ideas from others, and listen with an open mind.”

The 8th grade pre-algebra text on the “no-buy” list tells students to “persevere, actively participate, and keep a positive mindset.”

It also includes brief bios of influential mathematicians, two of whom are black.

And a book called “Thinking Mathematically” mentions the higher rate of sickle cell anemia among African-American infants as opposed to white infants as a way of teaching proportion.

I will admit, there was nothing like this in any math book I ever had –no bios, no advice about positive thinking or sharing, no mention of African-Americans.

But, full disclosure, it’s been 57 years since I was in the eighth grade, and a lot has changed. Cars now have seatbelts; telephones don’t need wires. So, I would expect the textbooks to be a little different.

What bothers me is why the state of Florida would want to hide what they found objectionable? Is it because all they have is the stuff I just listed?

By the way, in one of the pre-calculus textbooks that was rejected, the only references to “race” that the Popular Info web site could find referred to footraces and bicycle races, implying the book was banned just because the word “race” popped up in a text search.

I realize this website might be cherry-picking, so if you can find another site with more terrifying examples of juvenile mathematical indoctrination, please let me know.

Just be gentle, because, remember, I had to live through the years when telephones needed wires.

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Ross: Finding the critical race theory in Florida’s rejected math textbooks