(NEW YORK)– In response to a decision by the Florida Department of Education to reject 41 percent of math textbooks because of references to “critical race theory” or “social emotional learning,” PEN America issued the following statement from Jeremy Young, Senior Manager of the Free Expression and Education program:

“The Florida Department of Education’s rejection of 41 percent of math textbooks submitted to the state–including 71 percent of textbooks for grades K-5– on the grounds that they include “references to critical race theory” or “social emotional learning” demonstrates how broadly educational gag orders can be wielded against a range of educational materials, and raises serious concerns about whether these decisions are being made based on pedagogy or politics. The rejections come in the midst of a multi-pronged effort to undermine faith in public schooling, and invoke terms that have become buzzwords for justifying censorship, but which remain vague and ill-defined. Math textbooks’ merit should be evaluated in terms of how effectively they help students learn mathematical concepts. Questions remain about the grounds for these rejections, and whether these removals are really about scoring political points. “

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.