State rejecting dozens of math books leaves 1 option for K-5 students

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — One publisher could supply the elementary school math book for all public schools in Florida unless the state approves more vendors.

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Channel 9 investigative reporter Daralene Jones first reported this week the state has rejected 54 books that officials said don’t meet state standards or contain prohibited information including critical race theory.

Typically, school districts have more than one choice for books.

Such limitations are the side effect of the state rejecting the 54 math books submitted for use next year.

READ: Florida school districts left scrambling after state rejects record number of textbooks

STEMscopes was created in a lab at Rice University to help teachers apply inquiry-based learning. And Florida may have no choice but to embrace it.

STEMScopes is the only book on an approved list for kindergarten through fifth grade. Advanced courses, middle and high school have more choices.

“It’s not just dealing with the rejection process, it’s also knowing what comes next, because it’s not something we’ve faced before at this scale,” said Maurice Draggon, senior director of digital learning with Orange County Public Schools.

READ: Several Central Florida school districts may have to choose new math books for next year

The selection process starts with the Department of Education appointing three reviewers who are considered experts Their choices are then sent to district reviewers to include classroom teachers and supervisors.

“If we get an alignment, we have some surety, especially if it’s a known publisher,” Draggon said. “We have a resource that’s going to make it all the way through the process.”

The books that retain a four-star rating, which is 90% or above, are recommended for approval, but the commissioner can select some with a lower score.

READ: Florida DOE rejects 54 math textbooks citing references to critical race theory

The kindergarten, third- and fifth-grade books on the approved list received at least a four-star rating, but their standards alignment percentage is between 80% and 86%.

The DOE hasn’t released the alignment percentage for the books rejected or sample questions to prove why they reference critical race theory or don’t mean standards.

During a press conference in The Villages Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “This education establishment, it’s gotten increasingly politicized and they’re trying to do ideology.”

READ: Nearly 1,600 books facing book bans nationwide

The CEO at the time is now the governor of Virginia, where critical race theory was just banned in schools and one reason Florida has given for rejecting some of the books on the list.

One of the publishers of the rejected books told Channel 9 that they’ve received no details about which math problems go against state standards or are considered unsolicited learning material.

Click here for the 2021-2011 Mathematics Instructional Materials Adoption List.

Click here for the 2021-2022 Mathematics Instructional Materials Not Recommended List.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.