Parents Can Challenge Textbooks in Florida

There has been an interesting development in Florida that gives parents an ability to challenge textbooks and instructional materials that they find objectionable.

NPR reports:

Keith Flaugh is a retired IBM executive living in Naples, Fla., and a man with a mission. He describes it as “getting the school boards to recognize … the garbage that’s in our textbooks.”

Flaugh helped found Florida Citizens’ Alliance, a conservative group that fought unsuccessfully to stop Florida from signing on to Common Core educational standards.

More recently, the group has turned its attention to the books being used in Florida’s schools. A new state law, developed and pushed through by Flaugh’s group, allows parents, and any residents, to challenge the use of textbooks and instructional materials they find objectionable via an independent hearing.

Flaugh finds many objections with the books used by Florida students. Two years ago, members of the alliance did what he calls a “deep dive” into 60 textbooks.

“We found them to be full of political indoctrination, religious indoctrination, revisionist history and distorting our founding values and principles, even a significant quantity of pornography,” he says.

Read the rest.

With Common Core legislation stalling out in many states and/or states simply rebranding the standards this bill may provide us another tool in the toolbox. It sounds good in theory, but we’ll have to see what difference it makes in practice.

One thought on “Parents Can Challenge Textbooks in Florida

  1. I agree that the new law (Florida HB 989) is an interesting development. The law has the potential to give parents and other citizens more input into local school curricula. I hope Florida residents will take the opportunity to test the bill to see if it has any positive effect.

    I agree with Shane that we will have to wait to see if the law changes anything. School boards have historically been reluctant to buck the educators when it comes to curriculum. Political correctness has long dominated the public schools, especially on controversial issues like the origin of the universe and life, biological evolution, global warming, human activity and the environment, religion in society and history, social justice, health and sex education, moral behavior, et al. Significant curriculum changes in these areas are notoriously difficult to achieve. Maybe HB 989 will help – but I remain skeptical.

    As mentioned in the NPR article, science education is an especially hard nut to crack. Those who wish to include biblical creationism in public school science classes should not press the issue. This is a loser since the U.S. Supreme Court has declared “creation science” to be “religious.” A better approach is to argue that the exclusive teaching of unguided evolution (a materialistic/atheistic theory) is an unconstitutional establishment of a religious preference by government. (Numerous U.S. court decisions have established that non-theistic belief systems are religions.) Objective, religiously neutral science curricula would include teleological (purposeful design) explanations for origins along with standard evolutionary theory. Honestly presenting evidence on both sides should satisfy the First Amendment requirement for neutrality.

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