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The Southern Poverty Law Center Pursues Public Records into Criteria Behind Florida’s Math Textbook Ban

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a public records request with the Florida Department of Education this week seeking all records related to their recent rejection of 54 math textbooks that they claim attempts to indoctrinate students.  

The request asks the department to produce records, in accordance with the Florida Public Records Act, disclosing the reasons, methods and tools used to approve or reject each of the 132 math textbooks submitted for review. It also seeks any communication to or from Commissioner Richard Corcoran and members of the State Board of Education regarding curricular material approval or rejection from January 1, 2022, to the present.  

The records will determine whether the department has valid examples to justify their decision to ban certain textbooks. It will also contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Florida Department of Education and the Board of Education, according to the request letter.  

“We are concerned that the Governor and Commissioner continue to use their positions to hijack and politicize our children’s education and stoke embers of hate to undermine our public education system,” said Bacardi Jackson, interim legal director for the children’s rights project at the SPLC. “The Governor’s aggressive anti-Black and anti-LGBTQ+ school agenda is clearly a motivating factor for these recent book bans rather than any legitimate concern affecting our children.”  

“To date, the Governor’s office and the Florida Department of Education have not been forthcoming about the process used to reject the 54 math textbooks by well-established publishers,” said Sam Boyd, senior staff attorney for the SPLC. “But the public has a right to know as this has significant implications for the type of resources that will be available to Florida students in the coming school years.”