Joe Henderson: Florida says math books teach CRT? Something doesn’t add up
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Plato said, math is a way to understand reality, but reality today is whatever the GOP says

Fun fact for today: The philosopher Plato is considered the “maker of mathematicians.”

I learned that on the website Plato opened an academy in 387 BCE, where “he stressed mathematics as a way of understanding more about reality.”

Well, there’s reality and there is Florida. Often the two fail to intersect.

Yes, citizens, math is the latest example of the state’s cancel culture. Florida’s Department of Education rejected 41% of math textbooks offered by publishers. That included 71% of materials for kindergarten through fifth grade.

Those books didn’t meet Florida’s, ahem, “standards.”

I mean, 1+1 still equals 2, right?

The department took a swipe at the despised Common Core, which Florida no longer uses. If that was as far as it went, well, OK. But this is Florida, and we know better than to expect decorum and restraint from our lawmakers.

Consider the headline on the DOE news release.

It says: “Florida Rejects Publishers’ Attempts to Indoctrinate Students.”

They didn’t stop at “indoctrination” here, though. No sir.

Yes, friends, the state just lumped elementary school math textbooks in with critical race theory. It’s the boogeyman to end them all. My hamstrings hurt thinking of the Olympic-level gymnastics it took to accomplish that.

Plato just threw up in his mouth.

But, for the moment, let’s give the DOE reviewers the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say they found concrete examples of bad stuff because the news release referred to “prohibited and divisive concepts.”

Those concepts included “the tenets of CRT or other unsolicited strategies of indoctrination.”

If so, kindly share them, please.

After all, the state hailed this “transparent instructional materials review process.” However, actual transparency makes a stronger case.

So far, though, all we’ve seen is a scary headline and a news release filled with buzzwords.

I mean, what did these nefarious publishers try to pull? Did kids have a homework assignment showing Joe Biden with more votes than Donald Trump?

As Plato said, math is a way to understand reality, but reality today is whatever the GOP says. The totality of things Republicans oppose and label as divisive has moved beyond strange.

They create the enemy, and — to paraphrase Trump — only they can fix that.

That might be a formula to win elections, but it’s a lousy way to govern.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • ScienceBLVR

    April 18, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    Just when you think it can’t get much worse..
    Having taught math in a public school system, I can assure you this is just a bunch of hooey as my grandad would say. What the FDOE’s end game here is anyone’s guess..probably a mixture of stirring up the base coupled with a deal made with someone’s buddy’s textbook company. I mean ya gotta replace all those “bad” books, right? A publisher’s dream, change the exams, change the standards, make other books obsolete or tools of indoctrination..

    • Tracy Currier

      April 20, 2022 at 2:34 pm

      Here is one:

      1st Edition
      Critical Race Theory in Mathematics Education
      Edited By Julius Davis, Christopher C. Jett
      Copyright Year 2019

      • Patricia A Schiller

        April 20, 2022 at 5:06 pm

        I doubt this is a book teaching children math skills. Probably ended up on a google search of math and CRT!!

      • Educated

        April 21, 2022 at 7:52 am

        This is not a textbook used in any public school. This is an undergraduate and graduate-level socio-historical text to examine how racial inequalities have led to lower levels of mathematical achievement in black populations. Apparently, you have no idea what CRT is and you also do not know that CRT is a legal and social theory that typically is not studied outside of graduate and post-graduate course work.

  • nail

    April 18, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    Someone please do something about the GQP in Florida procreating. No child should be saddled with the actions of a parent. Children of these unions will never have a chance. The combination of their parents genes and no books to learn from, Fl will have the next generation where no one attends college.

  • tom palmer

    April 18, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    fwiw It is tenets. not tenants. The craziest part of this crazy campaign os that we don’t know which books are being banned and what exactly any of them contain that set off the DeSantis educrats I remember when Florida government was more transparent.

    • Janet

      April 20, 2022 at 5:55 am

      I believe the gov should be REQUIRED to provide this information. Every parent and student deserves to know why these textbooks are being taken away and how these math books are supposedly “indoctrinating” kids. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with making this call without providing evidence to constituents.

      • Tracy Currier

        April 20, 2022 at 2:35 pm

        Here you go Janet:

        1st Edition
        Critical Race Theory in Mathematics Education
        Edited By Julius Davis, Christopher C. Jett
        Copyright Year 2019

        • Tracy Currier doesnt know anything

          April 20, 2022 at 4:41 pm

          Thats a book used by math educators. Nice try though.

          • Jim Hornibrook

            April 21, 2022 at 2:38 pm

            Yes, it’s used by math educators to shape their curriculum, which therefore will confer CRT’s ideological axioms and presuppositions onto unsuspecting and impressionable students.

        • Paul Austex

          April 20, 2022 at 6:08 pm

          That’s not a textbook. Try again.

  • FedUpDem

    April 18, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    These f**KKKing trumplicking QpubliPuke morons, led by Racist Ronnie DeathSantis, seem to be trying to turn Florida into another “sh*thole state,” joining such centers of progress & enlightenment as Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia & Tennessee — the race to the bottom continues in Tallahassee !!!

    • Southern Rebel

      April 19, 2022 at 10:25 am

      Or basically the South. Take your carpetbagging back to NYC!

      • Mary Jane Ricketts

        April 20, 2022 at 12:52 pm

        Not just the south. It’s happening here in Idaho also…

  • joey

    April 18, 2022 at 10:33 pm

    What he want to teach kids? How bad democrats are and how good republicans are? Let teaching to the teachers and fix the freeaking homeowners insurance problem. Do something repudicans. Ron Disasters.

  • PeterH

    April 18, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    The prime responsibility of Florida’s educators is to prepare students and help them assimilate into the 21st century …… not some imaginary DeSantis vision of 1940’s America.

    We can’t roll back the history that got us to the place we are today. Yes, ‘common core curriculum’ is necessary for children educated in New York to easily assimilate into the academic world of Birmingham, Alabama. Government can choose to deny doctors and the women they council to terminate a pregnancy….. but that won’t slow down or stop abortion. All Americans know that Florida was one of the top five lynching States …… and yes …. adolescent children should be taught why this tragedy occurred here! Americans should understand that teenagers should be taught how murder and disease was perpetrated on Native Americans by white military officers and their subordinates. Gay marriage is here to stay and transgender children and adults should be treated with dignity and respect. DeSantis needs to end his social engineering attempts …. They are unconstitutional and bullying.

    DeSantis should spend most of his effort on figuring out why 25% of Florida’s young people under the age of 17 live below the poverty level. DeSantis should stay laser focused on the Florida businesses with 600,000 employment vacancies. Why do Florida’s schools have 5000 educator vacancies?

  • Liz

    April 19, 2022 at 6:21 am

    Florida and Texas are turning into authoritarian incubators. DeSantis’s political hero resembles Mussolini not President Lincoln.


    April 19, 2022 at 8:01 am

    People dont make a judgement off a headline. That is ignorance followed by ignorance. Until we can see what they objected to we are just guessing. As far as the authors comments on 1+1=2 in the common core regime it didnt matter as long as you tried. So that is an invalid arguement . This could be blown out of proportion by the media just like the supposed don’t say gay bill that said nothing of the kind but people were too quick instead of reading the whole 7 pages of the bill. After reading it i agree fully with its intent. I will wait to see what comes of this before judging , the same as i do everything that comes out in the media on either side I wait for the details.

    • larry

      April 19, 2022 at 8:45 am

      I taught common core and it certainly mattered if you got correct answers. Common core was established to make sure it was easy to transition from one state to another since the same topics were being taught and you had the same course numbers. I’m not so sure why mean absolute deviation was so important , but the curriculum was rigorous and different approaches to solving problems was encouraged. But answers always mattered.

    • How about that.

      April 19, 2022 at 10:49 pm

      You’re wrong about Common core.

      Take your own advise and find out what’s going on before you react. You’re letting the media take advantage of you.

    • Edward Hanes

      April 19, 2022 at 11:08 pm

      well, math is more about showing your’s the process that’s the most important …and it’s the process, more so than the ‘correct answers’ that is impressed upon in later math (like algebra and calculus)…and with the higher emphasis of math in developing critical thinking skills for college applications, Florida is doing a great disservice to it’s students (competitively) if they reject any material that relates to any statistical analysis of things like demographic’s studies because these are heavily used in the hard and soft sciences.

    • Janet

      April 20, 2022 at 5:58 am

      And yet they have not revealed just how CRT was in those math books. Why not? And how could CRT (which is NOT what they say it is and is not offensive) be in a math book? Yes, we can pass judgement now, because what they’re already saying is ridiculous. And we shouldn’t wait to judge until they offer us evidence when they could’ve done that already but haven’t.

  • Jordan S Thomas

    April 19, 2022 at 8:46 am

    you are saying something doesnt add up? how come you are ignoring the questions in the book?

    • Educated

      April 21, 2022 at 7:54 am

      Because there has not been any examples or evidence provided of the content of the discarded books.

  • Len

    April 19, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Thanks for proving you know nothing about Plato if you think he’d approve of incorporating social engineering into math lessons.

    • PeterH

      April 19, 2022 at 11:56 am

      DeSantis states that social engineering is in the banned math books but it’s been 72 hours and he’s provided no proof.

      I’m shocked that you would after all this time believe a Trumpster without proof! We’re are a list of the books with offending citations? Were parents involved in the decision making process? Where are they?

    • Educated

      April 21, 2022 at 7:59 am

      ‘The philosophy of Plato is marked by the usage of dialectic, a method of discussion involving ever more profound insights into the nature of reality, and by cognitive optimism, a belief in the capacity of the human mind to attain the truth and to use this truth for the rational and virtuous ordering of human affairs. Plato believes that conflicting interests of different parts of society can be harmonized. The best, rational and righteous, political order, which he proposes, leads to a harmonious unity of society and allows each of its parts to flourish, but not at the expense of others. The theoretical design and practical implementation of such order, he argues, are impossible without virtue.”

      Tell me you know nothing about Plato by claiming to know so much about Plato.

      Internet encyclopedia of philosophy. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2022, from,at%20the%20expense%20of%20others.

  • Throw Away

    April 19, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    Your prose is arrogant and flowery. Get over yourself.

  • Billy Bags

    April 19, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    I just want to see some examples of the offensive material that got these textbooks banned. People tell me to google it, but there is nothing. Are we supposed to simply take it on faith that there is CRT in these books? Which publisher(s) will be providing the new teaching material, and what association will these entities have with the current administration? Something about this whole situation smells fishy to me…

  • Bob Woodruff

    April 19, 2022 at 2:57 pm

    What is wrong with CRT? I think it is a positive approach to understand our history with all its pluses and minuses.

    • Greg Kallio

      April 19, 2022 at 4:35 pm

      Yes, but we’re talking about Math Textbooks! There are no opinions in mathematics, only truths.

      • C Douthitt

        April 19, 2022 at 7:19 pm

        the best I can find- the CRT bs is used in word problems where the students have to determine from the statements what numbers are relevant to solving the problem.” ergo- Racist White Bigot Billy has 12 more apples than victimized poor underprivileged Sara … …”that kind of crap.

        • PeterH

          April 19, 2022 at 9:27 pm

          Any proof? Any citations from a Florida textbook. After all …. DeSantis has had 72 hours to produce documents.

    • Janet

      April 20, 2022 at 6:12 am

      I completely agree, Bob. It’s blatant racism to pretend that CRT (or even what they think CRT is) is bad and that white students will be harmed by finding out that we have a history of racism. How much will students of other races be harmed by having this history whitewashed? But they take it a lot further when they claim that math books – lots of them! – have “CRT” in them. And then they fail to provide evidence, because it’s simply absurd.

  • JDill

    April 19, 2022 at 6:45 pm

    Math textbooks most certainly can contain socialistic views and CRT criteria. Application problems require context and background. Mathematics is not just 1+1=2, it is problem solving and real-world applications. There have been several problems that have made me raise an eyebrow in the past and I can’t imagine what kind of information they are trying to swindle in now.

  • T

    April 20, 2022 at 3:02 am

    Thank you! Yep I can’t find any proof!! I can’t find the books or the quotes that are CRT I just don’t believe it. This whole CRT freak out is so “conceptual” that I can’t find anything hard facts about it.

  • Carmen

    April 20, 2022 at 9:29 am

    It must have something to do with division problems where the task is to make sure a resource is “shared equally” among a group. 🙂 Or, I know, it’s word problems where the student is asked to count broken windows in each dilapidated building on a block of HUD housing projects. How many broken windows total?? How much will the government have to spend to fix the windows?? Whatever it is, DOE could share general information without getting to the “proprietary” aspects of the content.

  • Mike

    April 20, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Please investigate more fully. Only one (1) publisher was approved for K-5!!! Follow the money! Corcoran and DeSantis object to any mention of “Social Emotional Learning (SEL)” ,,,so we can only assume that may have been the objection (because specifics were NOT provided). Problem is, the new Mathematical Thinking and Reasoning Standards passed by Florida match the language of some of the SEL core competencies exactly! So, how could that be objectionable? Shouldn’t classroom discussions and feedback be respectful? Ugh!

  • mspalding

    April 20, 2022 at 11:32 am

    Y = X +2
    3X+6Y = 12
    Angelou was sexually abused by her mothers _ at age 8 , which shaped her career choices and motivation for writing.
    A. (0,2). Boyfriend
    B. (4,6) Brother
    C. (3,4). Father

    5. X = Y-1
    Y = -4x

    Trying to support her son as a single mother, she worked as a pimp , prostitute and a _.
    A. (-3 , -2). Bookie
    B. ( 9,10). Drug dealer
    C. (4 , 5). Exotic Dancer

  • Tracy Currier

    April 20, 2022 at 2:21 pm


    1st Edition
    Critical Race Theory in Mathematics Education
    Edited By Julius Davis, Christopher C. Jett
    Copyright Year 2019

    • Don’t Look Up

      April 20, 2022 at 2:44 pm

      Tracy …… you’re not providing proof of anything. Who cares what opinion Jett has or his motive?

      I want to see the specific citations in DeSantis’s banned books. It’s been four days and he’s provided nothing to the media.

      • Tracy Currier

        April 20, 2022 at 2:52 pm

        This is an example of the books that are banned. People keep saying they can’t believe it is happening. It is openly taught in NJ and now the parents have seen it on the news and they don’t like it either due to the age of the children.

        • Paul Austex

          April 20, 2022 at 6:13 pm

          That book that is not a math textbook.

    • Greg Kallio

      April 20, 2022 at 3:46 pm

      We are talking about math textbooks here. The referenced book is not a math textbook for K-12. It is a book for math educators. It recognizes that Black learners may feel marginalized in STEM fields and it provides teaching methods to overcome this. There’s no reason to believe that it encourages authors of math textbooks or teachers to interject divisive racial tone to word-based math problems.

  • rick

    April 20, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    So liberals in this state want to teach grade school kids about the 500 genders but you find it hard to believe they may be trying to sneak CRT into math books? Really?

    • Don’t Look Up

      April 20, 2022 at 9:05 pm

      Making stuff up is easy for you!

Comments are closed.


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