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DeSantis signs 'Stop WOKE' Act as Polk schools grapple with math textbook rejections

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A number of math books being considered for adoption by the Polk County School Board are on the list of 54 rejected books from the Florida Department of Education.

School board members are set to vote on the new books next week.

The two K-5 math books being considered as of a March 8 work session, from McGraw Hill LLC and Savvas Learning Company, are on the rejection list, among others.

“We believe that the publishers will work quickly to address any issues or concerns. Polk County Public Schools will not proceed with ordering or purchasing of new materials until this is resolved,” Polk County Public Schools spokesperson Kyle Kennedy wrote in a statement.

The state rejected 41% of the math books up for adoption under Florida’s new Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards set to go into effect next year.

Many of the books are alleged to include references to Critical Race Theory.

“It seems more like this is about political theater than it is about making sure that we have the best content and resources available for our students,” said Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, the state’s teachers’ union.

Spar says “social and emotional learning” has been a part of Florida’s curriculum since the Parkland shooting. He says the state’s teacher and staff shortage problems should be the governor’s number one issue.

“This whole continued chaos and confusion, this idea of constantly attacking teachers and the materials that they use – it’s taking its toll. It’s what’s driving people out of the profession,” said Spar.

It is all part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ fight against what he calls “oppressive ideologies” and “indoctrination.”

“We are not going to use your tax dollars to teach our kids to hate this country or to hate each other,” the governor said at the bill signing for the so-called “Stop WOKE” Act Friday.

A similar review process started for social studies textbooks on April 8. Publishers will have until May 13 to submit books for potential adoption into the new state curriculum.

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