On April 18th, 2022, the Florida Department of Education purged its curriculum, specifically regarding math. Roughly 54 math textbooks were decided to be not up to the state’s new and updated standards, as these books contained references to critical race theory, and concepts relating to Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
Florida is not the only state where this potential new movement is making strides. Across the country, many states have begun to follow Florida’s lead, presenting bills and legislation that removes certain textbooks.
Tennessee has recently introduced HB 800, which allows textbooks that tend to “promote” or “normalize” LGBTQIA+ lifestyles to be banned.
Alabama is currently pushing for the legislation of a measure that forbids schools from any in-class instruction on gender identity and sexuality.
With the younger generations’ education at the forefront of these discussions, it is important to note Generation Z’s diversity. Gen Z has been a topic of discussion in recent years, with various news outlets highlighting that it is the most diverse generation in history. During the 2020 presidential election, Gen Z shattered previous records with the youngest voter turnout. Gen Z, or “Zoomers” as dubbed by the internet, have clearly shown their capacity to learn, and their willingness to have an open mind. With all this data, Gen Z, to generalize, has been categorized as typically left-leaning.
These books were banned because they included innuendo alluding to, what Florida specifically deems as “prohibited topics.” On April 22nd, Florida’s Education Department released examples to explain their reasoning behind making these decisions and banning these specific books.
The four examples offered for justification included references to unconscious bias, prejudice, and the concept of SEL as a whole. President of the Florida Education Association, Andrew Spar, in regards to the examples, provided out of context, “ it seems like its more about smoke and mirrors of trying to accomplish a political agenda than really about what we are teaching our kids.”