TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Students throughout Florida will be getting new social studies textbooks, but they will be absent of recent social issues.
It’s part of an adoption process that happens routinely every few years.
This year, however, it brings more controversy because of new laws passed in Florida regulating what can be taught in the classroom, like the so-called “Stop WOKE Act” act.
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In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement and social injustice rallies popped up all over town and all over the country. But a lesson on them was removed from a social studies textbook for Florida students.
“I just see it as an attempt to hide the truth and discount the contributions of Black Americans to the U.S.,” said Robert Mitchell, the founder of Muck City Black Lives Matter in the Glades.
That was Mitchell’s initial reaction to the removal.
“It makes common sense in your textbooks that you would be told, hey, there was a movement called Black Lives Matter,” Mitchell said. “The reason why, there was young men and women being slain and killed unjustifiably.”
The Florida Department of Education shared it as one example of material that publishers had to change before their books could be accepted and schools could purchase them.
The paragraphs in a potential middle school textbook were under the heading “New Calls For Social Justice,” detailing the Black Lives Matter movement and the killing of George Floyd.
It was regarded as an “unsolicited topic,” according to the state’s education department.
Other removed content included a description of socialism, along with a reference to taking a knee during the national anthem in an elementary school textbook.
“To uphold our exceptional standards, we must ensure our students and teachers have the highest quality materials available – materials that focus on historical facts and are free from inaccuracies or ideological rhetoric,” Florida education commissioner Manny Diaz said in a written statement.
State education leaders said that when materials were first submitted, only 19% were approved. After working with publishers to remove content the state called inaccurate or not aligned with Florida law, 66% of material was approved.