CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The owner of Books & Books says he’s disappointed in the recent effort to keep specific books out of the hands of students.
“The problem with banning books is not in the book, it’s with the book ban,” said Mitch Kaplan.
He continued, “The way you bring people together is through the reading of books. Books tend to be that place where people learn about different lives, they learn about how different people live. So, when you see books like “The Color Purple” trying to be banned or “Of Mice and Men,” these are things really, really beyond the pale.”
But the state is restricting more than just novels. Recently, the Florida Department of Education rejected 41% of the submitted textbooks, saying they contained prohibited content like critical race theory, Common Core and social emotional learning.
“It just doesn’t make any sense, that’s why I said I would like to see where in the book they have a problem,” said Jim Gard.
Gard, a 40-year veteran math teacher, said he’s still in disbelief by the rejection of submitted textbooks.
“I couldn’t imagine someone coming in and saying you’re teaching critical race theory. No, it’s like, I’m teaching how to factor a trinomial, I’m teaching how to do some basic trig, I’m not teaching how to do these other things,” he said.
Despite repeated requests by critics, the press and the publishers of the books, Gov. Ron DeSantis has not given specific examples from these books about what’s wrong with them.
“We want kids to learn the things so they can get the right answer. It’s not about how you feel about the problem or to introduce some of these other things, it’s there’s a right answer and there a wrong answer,” the governor said.
Gard said, “As I was going through the list of those which have been accepted, there are these certain authors I’m familiar with that have been writing these book for 40 years that weren’t on the list. I thought that was kind of interesting. And some of the other ones that were accepted, they were brand new authors, companies, I’ve never even heard.”
It’s a change Gard says could impact how he teaches.
“It’s like Forrest Gump with a box of chocolate – you do not know what you’re going to get,” Gard said.
The governor has also defended the action, saying the goal is to prevent indoctrination. But United Teachers of Dade responded to that, releasing the following statement:
“Dear People Accusing Teachers of Indoctrinating Students: Just know that IF, in fact, we were able to brainwash/indoctrinate students, we’d start with having them do all of their work (on time), pay attention in class, study and bring us coffee every day.”
Anna Fusco, the president of Broward Teachers Union, adds 71% of the rejected K-5 books were math books that did not include CRT.
“To say that critical race theory is being taught in our public school system pre-K through 12 is completely false and it needs to be stopped. People need to stop saying it,” she said. “And I was looking to see if he can open a book in pinpoint where exactly where this indoctrination was in on these books, it didn’t happen. So because I said it, it must be.”