A group of reviewers at Palm Beach County schools have been assessing new social studies textbooks that are now being considered for use by students in the fall. The reviewers have new guidelines from Florida in the wake of “parental rights” laws in which to assess the books and make sure they omit lessons on social justice, culturally responsive teaching, social-emotional learning and “any other unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination.”
Community members can request access to the books by reaching out to Nolan Rowell, the district’s manager of K-12 instructional materials, at 561-684-5145 or [email protected]. Once the school board votes on a list of finalists in the coming months, a 30-day public comment period will follow.
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Critical race theory – what is racism?
Critical Race Theory — “the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons.”
Social justice – ‘undeserved disadvantages’
Any content “seeking to eliminate undeserved disadvantages for selected groups.” Also outlawed is the idea that “undeserved disadvantages are from mere chance of birth and are factors beyond anyone’s control, thereby landing different groups in different conditions,” or the argument that “equality of treatment under the law is not a sufficient condition to achieve justice.”
Lessons on social awareness, identity, managing emotions and developing relationships.
Teaching U.S. history – ‘American exceptionalism’
Textbooks “may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” And lessons can’t compel students to believe they “must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress because of actions in which the person played no part, committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, national origin or sex.” Students should, however, be taught “the philosophical underpinnings of the American Republic and the root cause of American exceptionalism.”