Holocaust school text books are the latest to fall foul of Florida’s anti-education laws

GOVERNOR Ron DeSantis’s administration’s crackdown on “woke” teaching and “indoctrination” took a worrying new turn when it was reported that two new Holocaust textbooks have been rejected, and another— The Hebrew Bible was compelled to alter a passage.

Modern Genocides was rejected, in part, for its discussion of “special topics” prohibited by the state. The list of such topics includes terms such as “social justice” and “critical race theory.”

The Hebrew Bible was accepted only after the phrase “social justice issues” was expunged.

According to state documents, the book’s original version included a question for students reading, “What social justice issues are included in the Hebrew Bible?” 

The words “social justice”—a red rag to DeSantis’ administration—was changed to “key principles.”

The state’s rationale for the change was that the original phrasing used:

Politically charged language when referencing the Hebrew Bible.

This change outraged Floridian Jeffrey Salkin. Writing for Religion News he said:

In a state that until relatively recently housed the largest population of Holocaust survivors, you are failing to allow a true inquiry into the meaning of the Holocaust. You are allowing parent groups with their own political and social agenda to curate that teaching. You are gutting those educational programs.

He added:

OMG (literally: Oh, my God!): the very idea that there are social justice issues in the Hebrew Bible! Have any of those critics even opened the Hebrew Bible?

Image via Facebook/Grace Christian Church

Alex Lanfranconi, above, Director of Communications at the Florida’s Department of Education, told Newsweek via email that the specific textbooks:

Did not meet our high-standards for instructional materials, and we have sent our feedback to the publishers to help them come into compliance with standards.

Florida requires instruction on the Holocaust for all students beginning in fifth grade, he said, adding that there are currently “many textbooks and other approved instructional materials” that exist.

Recently Ishena Robinson. Deputy Editorial Director of the Legal Defense Fund wrote about Florida’s state legislature and Governor’s “feverish” campaign to strictly limit what facts and information can be accessed in public learning institutions.

Claiming that “public education has been taken hostage in Florida” with the enactment of legislation such as the “Stop W.O.K.E.” Act and the “Don’t Say Gay” law, she wrote:

The tentacles of the push for censorship, the war on truth, and the erasure of historically marginalized voices and stories in Florida extend far beyond a single high school course. Students at all levels of their educational careers, and the state as a whole, will endure far-reaching impacts from these laws for many years to come.

Religion is the driving force behind Florida crazy laws

At the core of these anti-education are measures designed to shoehorn more Christianity into Florida public school classrooms.

Last June it was reported here that state civics workshops for Florida’s teachers—aimed to prepare students to be “virtuous citizens”—are infused with a Christian and conservative ideology.

Almost $6 million has been spent on the workshops.

Teachers who spoke to the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times said they don’t object to the state’s new standards for civics, but they do take issue with how the state wants them to be taught.

Barbara Segal, a 12th-grade government teacher at Fort Lauderdale High School who attended one of the workshops, said:

It was very skewed. There was a very strong Christian fundamentalist way toward analyzing different quotes and different documents. That was concerning.

We are constantly under attack, and there is this false narrative that we’re indoctrinating children, but that is nothing compared to what the state just threw in new civic educators’ faces. That’s straight-up indoctrination.

Another teacher who attended a workshop, Richard Judd, added:

It is disturbing, really, that through these workshops and through legislation, there is this attempt to both censor and to drive or propagandize particular points of view.

Teachers are being paid to attend the revisionist workshops

The three-day sessions are voluntary, but teachers get a $700 stipend as an incentive to attend. Under the governor’s civics initiative, teachers will also be eligible for a $3,000 bonus if they complete a 60-hour online course on the new civics standards and earn a “Civics Seal of Excellence Endorsement.”

Several presentation slides at the workshops emphasise that it was a “misconception” that the “Founders desired strict separation of church and state and the Founders only wanted to protect Freedom of worship.”

During breakout sessions, the state’s presenters repeatedly mentioned the influence Jesus Christ and the Bible have in the country’s foundation.

Said Richard Judd:

There was this Christian nationalism philosophy that was just baked into everything that was there.

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2 responses to “Holocaust school text books are the latest to fall foul of Florida’s anti-education laws”

  1. Hmmm…. Take the money and ignore the content?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Teachers laughing all the way to their bank; would paid anti-theism instruction to UK teachers resolve their strikes?


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