February 20, 2023. As champions for K-12 education reform, Florida Citizens Alliance (FLCA) organized a comprehensive review of social studies textbooks that were submitted by textbook publishers to the Florida Department of Education. FLCA worked with 69 volunteer reviewers from throughout the State to review 38 textbooks. The reviewers found that 28 of the 38 textbooks should not be considered for adoption, and 8 textbooks required substantive changes to be factually correct. Only 2 out of 38 textbooks were considered acceptable for adoption.FLCA’s goal was to apprise the Department of Education about the content in the social studies textbooks and the textbook selection process because within the next few months, the Department of Education will select social studies textbooks that are available for adoption by the 67 school districts in Florida. All of FLCA reviewers were trained to understand critical race theory, social-emotional learning, K – 12 curriculum standards, and how to identify factual errors, omission of facts, slants, and bias to evaluate the textbooks accurately. Denise Nystrom, an experienced educator and K-12 administrator served as the project director for this initiative. FLCA made 3 recommendations to the Commissioner of Education, Mr. Manny Diaz:
- Reject 28 of the 38 social studies textbooks reviewed by FLCA. Based on detailed assessments the books contain SEL, CRT and bias. This is evidenced by the reviews submitted to the Commissioner of Education by individual reviewers and expressed in the Executive Summary dated Feb 10, 2023.
- As a solution, add to the approved list of textbooks from the FLDOE to the school districts the Hillsdale 1776 Project curriculum and the American History and Civics lessons for K-12 classrooms.
- Also, add to the approved list of textbooks from the FLDOE to the school districts a recommended reading list of original and secondary source documents and an approved reading list of resources just as the DOE did in the B.E.S.T ELA standards. The Civics list in the ELA standards is a worthy preliminary start but needs to be expanded and included with the approved DOE bid list.