California Gov. Gavin Newsom demands records from textbook companies to see which are caving to Florida's 'extremist' demands

·3 min read
Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Gavin Newsom wants to know which textbook publishers caved to Florida's demands.

  • Newsom said his office sent a public records request to the Florida Department of Education to see which publishers it asked to change their books.

  • Florida rejected around one-third of social studies textbooks proposed for next school year.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is demanding textbook publishers hand over records to show if any companies making reading materials for the state had caved to Florida's demands to remove some topics about race and other historical subjects.

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On May 15, the Florida Department of Education rejected around one-third of social studies textbooks proposed to the department for the start of the 2023-2024 school year, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Publishers can still make an appeal if their book was added to the list, and the list is expected to shorten.

According to the outlet, officials from the department of education reached out to publishers and told them ahead of time not to submit books that included topics that would be off limits, such as social-emotional learning and critical race theory.

Newsom sent a letter to book publishers on Saturday demanding to know if any of the textbook publishers making books for California schools had changed them to meet Florida's new curriculum demands.

"California will not be complicit in Florida's attempt to whitewash history through laws and backroom deals; parents have a right to know what's happening in the dark to undermine our children's education — and California deserves to know whether any of these companies designing textbooks for our state's classrooms are the same ones kowtowing to Florida's extremist agenda," he wrote.

According to the letter, Newsom's office also sent a public records request to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the DOE asking for all communication between them and textbook publishers that show all the revisions they requested in order to get a textbook approved by the state.

The Florida Department of Education did not immediately return Insider's request for comment on Sunday.

Conservatives in Florida have been at the forefront of pushing to remove ideas that they disagree with from schools. Social-emotional learning, the teaching of critical race theory, and LGBTQ topics have all been on the chopping block as the state moved to ban books from schools and suspend teachers.

Social-emotional learning — which teaches self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills through social interactions — soared in popularity when schools closed and children became more isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the books rejected by the Florida Department of Education, "Social Studies Alive! My School and Family," published by Teacher's Curriculum Institute, was rejected for containing "special topics," The Tampa Bay Times reported.

The department did not give a specific reason for rejecting the book, but it includes an activity that teaches children what being a "good sport" means in an effort to teach cooperation and character, which are elements of social-emotional learning, according to the outlet.

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