Sign, cosign and a lot of tangents.
Textbook publishers have routinely transmitted political messaging to kids under the cover of objective math instruction, according to a review by Florida officials.
The Sunshine State’s Department of Education vetted all math textbooks submitted by publishers for classroom use beginning in 2021.
The agency rejected 41 percent of the proposed materials for violating policy last month and released 6,000 documents related to their probe this week.
Math textbooks, reviewers found, frequently veered into political subject matter ranging from the racial makeup of the NYPD to climate change and abortion.
One DOE reviewer questioned a 2019 high school math textbook from Pearson Learning for lacing its content with political themes.
“Narratives within book contain topics that are neither age appropriate nor engaging to
students,” they wrote. “Examples are alcohol use, divorce, marijuana, illegal activities, gender bias, racial prejudice, etc.”
Rather than limit prose to the instruction of math, “the author pushes certain social issues as normal such as marijuana use, illegal drugs, implying that everyone is implicitly racist, jokes about marriage and divorce, and the white population decreasing.”
A DOE reviewer also flagged a math question about a hypothetical character named Ricky Ricardo who was drafted to fight in a war and died. The problem examines how his inheritance would be distributed to his kids.
The textbook asserts that “his savings account would be divided unproportionally if
child was male vs female. The problem nonchalantly states that draftee did not return home: ‘We’ll never know what Ricky was thinking of, for (as fate would have it) he did not return from the war.’ It makes the student figure out how the money would be divided based on gender of twins.”
Another Pearson textbook on probability and statistics broached the hiring practices of the NYPD.
A segment on “too many” white police in NYPD compared to racial makeup of the
community may violate the rule’s prohibitions about racism being embedded in society and legal systems and/or that race is the most important factor in considering an aspect of
society,” the reviewer noted.
A 2022 precalculus book from Pearson was met with another critical assessment.
The tome discusses the grounds for COVID-19 vaccination and the inherent racism of conservatives, according to the review.
“It goes on to state as a matter of fact that most groups of people have ‘slight’ or
‘moderate’ bias and this is dependent on ‘age’ and ‘political identification,’” the writer notes.
Gov. Ron DeSantis spearheaded legislation that banned the inclusion of critical race theory in school curriculums along with Social Emotional Learning content in math materials.
DeSantis asserts that CRT is an instrument of division while his critics counter that kids are not sufficiently exposed to America’s racial history or present challenges.
The Florida DOE has reinstated some of the rejected textbooks after publishers removed violative content.