What is Critical Race Theory? 41% of new Florida math books rejected; the state cites the CRT as one of the reasons

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Education announced Friday that the state has rejected more than 50 math textbooks from next school year’s curriculum, citing references to critical race theory among the reasons for the rejections.

In a press release, the department said 54 of 132 textbook submissions would not be added to the state’s adopted list because they did not meet Florida’s new standards or contained prohibited subject matter. CNN reported.

The release said the list of rejected books represents about 41% of submissions, which is the highest in Florida history.

Reasons for the textbooks’ rejection included references to critical race theory, “Common Core inclusions, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to math,” the statement said.

Critical race theory has become politicized in recent years, with opponents claiming the field of study is based on Marxism and poses a threat to the American way of life. But researchers studying it say it explores the ways in which a history of inequality and racism in the United States has continued to impact American society today.

“Critical Race Theory is a practice. It is an approach to combating a history of white supremacy that rejects the belief that what is in the past is in the past, and that the laws and systems that develop from that past are detached from it.” said Kimberlé Crenshaw, a founding critical race theorist and law professor who teaches at UCLA and Columbia University.

RELATED: New Florida Bill Would Ban ‘Discomfort’ Feelings in Teachings About Racism in US History

Educators in several states have argued that critical race theory is generally not included in elementary education.

Florida banned the teaching of critical race theory in schools in June 2021. At the time, Governor Ron DeSantis said allowing critical race theory in schools would teach children that “the country is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate”.

According to the ban, teaching in schools must be “factual and objective”. It specifically prohibits “theories that distort historical events” – including “the teaching of critical race theory, that is, the theory that racism is not simply the product of prejudice, but that racism is entrenched in American society and its legal systems in order to enforce white supremacy.”

Florida also banned educational materials from Project 1619, the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning project aimed at reframing American history around the date of August 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on American shores.

The highest number of rejected books were in grades K-5, where an “alarming” 71% were not properly aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics, according to the statement.

Despite 41% of submitted papers being rejected, every core math course and year is covered by at least one textbook, the statement said.

In a statement, DeSantis said he was grateful for the department’s thorough review of these manuals to ensure they comply with the law.

“It looks like some editors have tried to put a coat of paint on an old house that was built on the basis of common core and indoctrinating concepts like racial essentialism, especially, oddly, for elementary school students,” said the governor.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.

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