The titles of CBS Miami's April 16, 2022 Florida Department Of Education Rejects Nearly Half Of Textbooks Submitted For Next School Year and Click Orlando's Florida education officials reject 54 math textbooks for ‘attempts to indoctrinate students’ highlight recent news, and the latter also links to Florida has 3rd largest number of school book ban incidents, report says.

The first Click Orlando link includes:

The department states 41% of the submitted textbooks included references to critical race theory, common core and social emotional learning. The state said grades K-5 had the most materials rejected.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement, “It seems that some publishers attempted to slap a coat of paint on an old house built on the foundation of Common Core, and indoctrinating concepts like race essentialism, bizarrely, for elementary students. I’m grateful that Commissioner (Richard) Corcoran and his team at the Department have conducted such a thorough vetting of these textbooks to ensure they comply with the law.”

The governor’s spokesperson Christina Pushaw gave a statement to News 6 regarding the textbooks that were rejected.

“The governor’s position is that all instructional materials used in Florida schools need to be aligned with state standards (BEST). This is not only a matter of ensuring that textbooks are free of critical race theory ideology, but also ending common core, which is a whole separate issue from CRT. Common core is used in some math textbooks, and those would not be aligned to Florida’s BEST standards,” Pushaw said.

Question: How does Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis explain that Common Core is bad for Florida and why are Mathematics textbooks referencing it are rejected for use there?

Has anything been articulated beyond "a whole separate issue from CRT" and "Common core...would not be aligned to Florida’s BEST standards"? I simply can't parse DeSantis' "slap a coat of paint on an old house" reference.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that even though the announcement was by the Department of Education, the tight reign that DeSantis holds on the state government and his concurrent statements about student indoctrination via Math text books suggest he has a strong position on Common Core.


1 Answer 1


How does Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis explain that Common Core is bad for Florida and why textbooks referencing it are rejected for use in the state?

There appear to be only general statements by Gov. DeSantis as to why he has been opposed to Common Core. But, note that in 2015 polls were showing opposition to using Common Core. Being opposed to Common Core could have been anti-Washington and anti-Democrat political posturing.

The 47th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, released Sunday, found that 54 percent of respondents are against teachers using the Common Core – the new standards for math and English language arts. However, the level of opposition was divided along racial and ethnic lines – just 35 percent of blacks and 50 percent of Hispanics are against it.

Following are statements made by DeSantis at different times and on different occasions. Note that references to "Constitution" and "civic education" could signal opposition to Critical Race Theory.

Then Rep. DeSantis spoke in support of H.Amdt.639 to H.R.5 - Student Success Act as shown in the Congressional Record, July 8, 2015. The amendment, among other things, would have converted federal money into block grants, allowing the states to decide for themselves educational standards.

Mr. DESANTIS. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend from North Carolina.

I am happy to cosponsor this amendment. I think of this amendment in terms of Common Core because we have had a lot of controversy over Common Core. A lot of parents are upset about it, and they say: Look, this was the Federal Government getting involved in education, and people support it.

Congress said: Wait a minute. The Federal Government never mandated Common Core. That never happened.

And, you know, that is true.

But what did happen was the Federal Government had a huge amount of money under President Obama’s race to the top, and they said: Hey, States—and this is during the recession and States needed the money—here is some money, but you have got to do what we want you to do.

And so they conditioned that funding and really coerced a lot of States into adopting something like Common Core.

And so I think what the A-PLUS does is it says: Okay. The Federal Government has gotten involved in K–12 education. I don’t think it has been very successful from the very beginning, but if you are going to be providing money, at least give the State the ability to take that money and use it as they see fit to try and innovate and to try to do things that will improve the academic performance of their kids. But don’t condition the funding on following specific formulas that Washington knows best.

I think this really empowers States. I think this is something that will empower local communities and, I think, ultimately will be better off as a matter of K–12 education. So I thank my friend from North Carolina for offering it.

When running for governor, DeSantis tweeted, Aug 2, 2018:

We can improve our education system in Florida by stopping Common Core, empowering parents to make the best decision for their students and getting our Constitution back in the classrooms in a big way!

Commenting on the tweet, EducationWeek reports, September 18, 2018:

Other than that remark, DeSantis has not elaborated much about how he would pursue this goal if he won the contest, or where it would fall on his list of priorities.

As governor, DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-32, Febuary 1, 2019:

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-32, outlining a path for Florida to improve its education system by eliminating Common Core and paving the way for Florida students to receive a world-class education to prepare them for jobs of the future.

“I have heard parents from across the state loud and clear and they all agree that it is time to finally end Common Core,” said Governor DeSantis. “So today, we are taking action through this executive order to ensure that Florida has the best academic standards in the nation and eliminating Common Core from our schools, as well as reaffirming my commitment to prepare our students for the real world through an increased focus on civic education.”

In a Florida Department of Education Press Release, Febreuary 7, 2020, DeSantis is quoted:

“Florida has officially eliminated Common Core. I truly think this is a great next step for students, teachers, and parents,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We’ve developed clear and concise expectations for students at every grade level and allow teachers the opportunity to do what they love most – inspire young Floridians to achieve their greatest potential. These standards create pathways for students that lead to great college and professional outcomes and parents will now be able to reinforce what their children are learning in the classroom every day. Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards were made by Florida teachers for Florida students, and I know they will be a model for the rest of the nation.”


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