This move by the Florida governor is deceptive and cowardly. In insisting that they want to teach accurate history, they are actually wiping away the most recent reality of American political and social movements. The hypocrisy will not go unchallenged in the face of truth, justice, and what is real; and what their children will eventually learn is the truth.

Conservatives in Florida, led by DeSantis, have ramped up criticism about what students are reading and learning in school, particularly surrounding race, gender, and sexual orientation through legislation and rulemaking alike.

Florida’s Department of Education as of Tuesday approved dozens of social studies textbooks for use in local schools after initially rejecting many over content the DeSantis administration found objectionable.

Publishers in many cases tweaked the content in their books after an initial review from the state, according to the state’s education agency.

State education officials flagged several potential textbooks for “political indoctrination,” including one lesson urging parents to speak with their children about kneeling during the National Anthem as a symbol representing America. Publishers also amended some of the books at Florida’s urging, such as removing a reference to the police killing of George Floyd in a middle school book, as Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to fight against “wokeness” in education.


“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,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said in a statement Tuesday.

The textbook adoption process for social studies was expected to face intense scrutiny in Florida following the state education agency denying dozens of proposed math textbooks last year for containing “impermissible” content, including lessons on critical race theory.

Conservatives in Florida, led by DeSantis, have ramped up criticism about what students are reading and learning in school, particularly surrounding race, gender, and sexual orientation through legislation and rulemaking alike. The Republican-dominated Legislature during its 2023 session passed a bill tightening rules for local book objections by requiring schools to yank challenged works within five days of someone flagging it, a shift opponents equate to “book banning.”

The state is also engaged in a high-profile dispute with the nonprofit College Board after state education department officials rejected its African American studies AP program for initially including coursework on queer theory and intersectionality. The objections angered many Black leaders across the country, with some accusing DeSantis of stoking a cultural fight to boost his presidential aspirations, as the course remains in limbo today.

Florida as of Tuesday accepted 66 of 101 social studies books submitted by publishers for use in the state, according to the Department of Education. Even with 35 books still pending approval, this marks a major jump from last month when the state initially rejected 81 books for various reasons.

The agency on Tuesday cited several examples of publishers modifying books after the state flagged them, such as an “inaccurate description of socialism” in one middle school book that claimed the political philosophy “keeps things nice and even and without necessary waste” and “may promote greater equality among people while still providing a fully functioning government-supervised economy.” The publisher stripped that language in a change to the textbook posted by the state.

The DeSantis administration also spurred one publisher to remove a section in a middle school textbook about “New Calls for Social Justice,” which mentioned the Black Lives Matter movement and Floyd police killing in 2020. This piece of text detailed that “while many American sympathized” with Black Lives Matters, “others charged that the movement was anti-police.”

Florida determined this content broached “unsolicited topics,” yet critics pan the state’s decision to reject it.

“Look at the revisions they are celebrating & ask yourself if you trust [Florida] to write our history,” the Florida Freedom to Read Project, an organization that monitors local book challenges, wrote in a tweet.

DeSantis officials, meanwhile, credited the Florida Department of Education for pushing publishers to rethink their proposals to the state.

“The political indoctrination of children through the K-12 public education system is a very real and prolific problem in this country,” DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin wrote in a tweet Tuesday.

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