Yesterday (May 9), the Florida Department of Education shared its list of approved textbooks for social studies courses. However, many noticed the teaching materials made no mention of current events such as George Floyd’s death or organizations like Black Lives Matter, and omitted discussions about racism.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, one middle school textbook had an entire section titled “New Calls for Social Justice” removed. The chapter detailed the 2013 origins of the Black Lives Matter movement and how George Floyd was killed at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in 2020. With many arguing that the Florida board is trying to whitewash key history-defining moments, in a news release, the department insisted it has “state standards-aligned social studies curriculum for every grade level.”
Miami-Dade County School Board member Steve Gallon III disagreed with Florida’s decision to modify the textbooks. “Social studies has always been the subject area in which students learn present and historical facts, and express their ideas regarding these occurrences,” he said in an article published by The Miami Herald yesterday. Gallon continued, arguing, “Any efforts that actually alter, eliminate or whitewash history run counter to the fundamentals of education and principles of this country.” Hillsborough School Board member Jessica Vaughn, added, “There’s so many emotions, but I guess immediately it’s fear. I’m afraid of the pattern of erasing or trying to rewrite history because to me this is right out of the playbook of fascism.”
But it’s not just Florida textbooks that have community members speaking out. As previously reported by REVOLT, in March, a Black man was thrown out of a school board meeting in Temecula, California when tensions ran high during a discussion regarding critical race theory being taught in classrooms. “It is not Ruby Bridges who has a problem with history being taught accurately. It’s the people who threw rocks at a 6-year-old for trying to simply go to school, whose grandchildren might learn and see their pictures and recognize their faces as they were throwing rocks at this little girl instead of taking this opportunity to show progress,” he said, in part, before he was told to go back to his country by a white woman.