Florida released more details about rejected math books. Questions still abound.

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Florida's discussion over math textbook adoption has become the subject of national scrutiny.
Florida's discussion over math textbook adoption has become the subject of national scrutiny.
Published May 9, 2022

The big story: It’s still math textbooks.

In response to growing requests for information about why it rejected dozens of math books, the Florida Department of Education released thousands of pages of notes from the official reviewers who helped make the decision.

The documents showed that the vast majority of reviewers found nothing objectionable about the content. A handful of people who took issue with the material — mostly the language of some word problems, not the actual math — had connections with conservative organizations such as Moms for Liberty and Hillsdale College in Michigan.

Department officials, including incoming commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., issued statements asserting that “several reviewers” found critical race theory and other prohibited references within the texts. Meanwhile, the department did not make more examples available.

Read more about the ongoing math book debate here. For additional stories, see the Orlando Sentinel, Florida Phoenix, New York Times, Washington Post

Hot topics

Youth behavior: Interim Florida education commissioner Jacob Oliva said the state won’t be ignoring the data traditionally collected in the CDC’s youth risk behavior survey, despite backing out of the biannual activity. Florida just wants to do the work itself, Oliva said.

HB 1557: LGBTQ youth in Florida and other states with similar legislation limiting instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation say they feel targeted and marginalized, USA Today reports.

Teacher pay: A new round of Brevard County teacher contract talks got off to a rocky start over a dispute whether the district would pay raises or bonuses, Florida Today reports.

Book challenges: The Brevard County School Board will consider adopting policy allowing the board to take up book challenges at the district level rather than having them go through schools first, Florida Today reports.

Political divisions: Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler and her husband, county commissioner Christian Ziegler, sit at the heart of their county’s growing political divide that has manifest itself in increasingly heated school district debates, the Washington Post reports.

Other school news

Being a teen parent is filled with complications. The Polk County school district’s Teen Parenting Program aims to help students work through classes and life, the Ledger reports.

It’s time for prom. Alachua County high school students are celebrating without pandemic restrictions for the the first time in three years, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Reading is fundamental. A Walton County independent book store has invited all public school teachers in the county to come and select one free children’s or young adult book to add to their classroom libraries, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • The Escambia County school district is offering all students four free books to read over the summer and keep, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Ready for recess? Some teachers in Florida and other states have revoked recess as a punishment for misbehavior or other infractions, and activists are pushing to stop that practice, Hechinger Report reports.

A Palm Beach County church has not renewed the lease of its school. Upset parents and students wore “Save Our School” shirts to services over the weekend, WPTV reports.

A teacher at an Osceola County high school is under investigation for a questioned history class assignment. Students were asked to create their own version of Nazi propaganda, which was then displayed publicly, WFTV reports.

From the police blotter ... A Marion County middle school student services manager was charged with sexual battery on a minor, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Before you go ... It’s National Lost Sock Memorial Day. You know you’ve lost your share. Where have they gone? No one knows. Today, think about alternative uses for the solos, like making a sock puppet crafting a toy for the dog.

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