CNN thought it was smearing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis when it reported on the social studies textbooks the state rejected, but the liberal media outlet quickly learned that, no matter how hard they spin it, many Americans don’t actually want their kids turned into social justice warriors while at school.
Earlier this week, the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) announced that “Florida Approves Over 60% of Social Studies Instructional Materials Submissions,” and CNN reported that “Florida rejected nearly 35% of social studies textbooks submitted by publishers for approval.”
According to the FLDOE, “The approved list includes state standards-aligned social studies curriculum for every grade level with 66 of 101 (65.4%) submitted materials approved to date.”
“When submitted materials were initially reviewed upon submission, only 19 of 101 (19%) materials were initially approvable due to inaccurate material, errors and other information that was not aligned with Florida Law,” the press release states. “Since then, the Department has worked directly with publishers, who have updated their materials to comply with Florida’s rigorous standards.”
The Department provided examples of the rejected materials and explanations for why they were not approvable.
In one, a paragraph regarding the National Anthem was highlighted.
“Talk to your child about the National Anthem,” the material originally read. “According to the United States Code, we should stand at attention and face the flag, or face toward the music, with your right hand over your heart.”
“You can use this as an opportunity to talk about why some citizens are choosing to ‘Take a Knee’ to protest police brutality and racism,” the instructional guide suggested to parents with children in kindergarten through the 5th grade.
The FLDOE found that this discussion was “not age appropriate” and the woke paragraph was removed.
CNN reported the action thusly: “Removing a paragraph that references how parents should talk with their children about the National Anthem and explaining ‘Taking a Knee’ to protest police brutality for grades K-5.”
In another example, a “socialist economy” was described to 6th- through 8th-graders through a decidedly rosy lens.
“It keeps things nice and even and without unnecessary waste,” the original text read. “These societies may promote greater equality among people while still providing a fully functioning government-supervised economy.”
The FLDOE rejected it, claiming it was an “inaccurate description of socialism.”
The text was changed to read, “In a planned economy, the government or central planning authority typically owns and controls the means of production, such as factories, farms, and natural resources. … Critics say these planned economies have slow development and fewer technological advances because they move slowly around planning and approval, while limiting human incentive.”
Though technically accurate, CNN’s take was selectively edited to cast an incomplete and somehow ominous light on the change.
From CNN’s perspective, Florida changed “a reference to ‘socialist economy’ that said, ‘They may promote greater equality while still providing a fully functioning government supervised economy,’ to ‘planned economies’ that have ‘slow development and fewer technological advances because they move slowly around planning and approval, while limiting human incentive’ for grades 6-8.”
The outlet went on to spin the changes to texts that referred to “social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement” and what the FLDOE deemed to be “politically charged language when referencing the Hebrew Bible.”
The state education department’s decision has sparked criticism, including from NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, who said the organization refuses to “stand by and allow fascism to rule over fact.”
“One thing is abundantly clear – Governor Ron DeSantis is committed to erasing our history and unraveling our democracy by indoctrinating our children and stripping away our fundamental freedoms,” Johnson said in a statement to CNN. “In the past month alone, he has led the Florida government in their assaults on parental and reproductive rights, the erasure of Black history, and now, the rejection of a curriculum that does not align with his extremist agenda.”
Twitter reached a very different conclusion.
“Excellent news,” wrote one user. “Textbooks should be expected to meet high standards. Turning kids into SJWs does not meet them.”
Excellent news. Textbooks should be expected to meet high standards. Turning kids into SJWs does not meet them.
— Nancy the Neanderthal (@nan_mclellan) May 11, 2023
Good for Ron.
It’s long past time people stood up to the evils pushed and promoted by organizations like yours.
— Eric (@eric_festa) May 11, 2023
Textbooks deal in facts, not woke activist opinions. CNN deals in woke activist opinions, not facts.
— John C Evelyn (@tridentjohn) May 11, 2023
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