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Publishers say they don't know why Florida rejected their math textbooks

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Publishers who submitted proposed new textbooks for Florida math education don’t seem to know what caused the state to reject them.

Several publishers issued statements on Monday indicating they are waiting for more information from the Florida Department of Education.

“We’re reviewing the matter and are seeking detailed feedback from the FLDOE process administrators,” said a spokesman from McGraw Hill.

“Savvas has a long and successful track record of working with the Florida Department of Education to ensure that our instructional materials deliver high-quality, research-based pedagogy designed intentionally to align with the current Florida standards for mathematics,” said a spokesperson from Savvas Learning Company. “Once we obtain additional information from the state as to the specific reasons why, Savvas will work toward an appropriate resolution.”

On Friday, FLDOE administrators said 41% of the 132 math textbooks submitted for use in grades K-12 were rejected. For grades K-5, the number was even higher: 71% were rejected, leaving only one approved textbook each for use in kindergarten and first grade.

Of the books rejected, 32% were not adopted either wholly or in part “because they incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including Critical Race Theory.”

Other “prohibited topics” include Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and culturally responsive teaching.

“Math is about getting the right answer,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “And we want kids to learn to think so they get the right answer. It’s not about how you feel about the problem, or to introduce some of these other things. It’s there’s a right answer and a wrong answer, and we want our kids getting the right answer.”

DeSantis said the state cannot release information from the textbooks because they are proprietary.

“Right now, what’s in their textbooks is considered proprietary information,” DeSantis said. “So I would be perfectly fine with doing that, that’s just not been their standard of practice, and it’s not because they don’t want to release, it’s just because these are textbooks and that’s how they do it.”

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