CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) — The owner of Books & Books says he’s disappointed with recent efforts to keep some books out of reach for students.
“The problem with the book ban is not in the book, it’s with the book ban,” said Mitch Kaplan.
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He continued, “The way you bring people together is through reading books. Books tend to be that place where people learn about different lives, they learn about how different people live. So when you see books like “The Color Purple” trying to get banned or “Of Mice and Men,” those are really, really beyond pale things.
But the state restricts more than novels. Recently, the Florida Department of Education rejected 41% of submitted textbooks, saying they contained banned content like critical race theory, core curriculum, and social-emotional learning.
“It doesn’t make sense, that’s why I said I’d like to see where in the book they have a problem,” Jim Gard said.
Gard, a 40-year-old veteran math teacher, said he was still in disbelief at the rejection of submitted textbooks.
“I couldn’t imagine anyone coming around saying you teach critical race theory. No, it’s like I’m learning how to factor a trinomial, I’m learning how to do some basic trines, I’m not learning how to do these other things,” he said.
Despite repeated requests from critics, the press and the books’ publishers, Governor Ron DeSantis did not give specific examples from these books of what is wrong with them.
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“We want kids to learn things so they can get the right answer. It’s not about what you think the problem is or introducing some of these other things, it’s that there’s a right answer and a wrong answer,” the governor said.
Gard said: “As I was going through the list of those who were accepted, there are some authors I know who have written these books for 40 years who were not on the list. I thought that was quite interesting. And some of the others that got accepted were brand new authors, companies, I had never even heard of.
According to Gard, this is a change that could have an impact on the way he teaches.
“It’s like Forrest Gump with a box of chocolates – you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Gard said.
The governor also defended the action, saying the goal is to prevent indoctrination. But United Teachers of Dade responded to this by issuing the following statement:
“Dear people accusing teachers of indoctrinating students: just know that IF, in fact, we could brainwash/indoctrinate students, we would start by asking them to do all their homework (on time), to pay attention in class , to study and bring us coffee every day.
Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union, adds that 71% of rejected K-5 books were math books that did not include CRTs.
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“To say that critical race theory is taught in our K-12 public school system is completely wrong and it needs to be stopped. People have to stop saying it,” she said. “And I was looking to see if he could open a book to identify exactly where that indoctrination was in those books, that didn’t happen. So because I said it, it has to be.