2 books on Holocaust rejected by Florida Department of Education
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Department of Education (DOE) released a list of new textbooks it has approved, and those it hasn’t.
There were 101 books proposed in total: 66 were approved, and 35 were not. Those rejected made up 36% of all submissions. Of those tossed out, two aimed to teach students about the Holocaust.
Raegan Miller with the Florida Freedom to Read Project said this is effectively a form of book banning.
"To me, it just feels like overreach by the state government in not allowing each district to review and vet their own curriculum."
Florida State Representative Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, said the explanation is much simpler.
"There’s lists of standards. The books have to fit those standards."
Among the books on the DOE's "Not Recommended List" are History of the Holocaust, 2nd Edition, and Modern Genocide. A third book intended for a middle schooler history course was allowed into schools after it took out what the DOE called "politically charged language."
The textbook changed the prompt "What social justice issues are included in the Hebrew Bible?" to "What are some of the key principles included in the Hebrew Bible?"
Rep. Fine’s bill, which was passed in 2020, created an entire school course focused on the Holocaust. He said Modern Genocide wasn’t approved for use because it was submitted for that class, and it isn’t a good fit.
"This is a class about Holocaust studies. It has requirements, it has standards. The book was only 10% in line with the standards because the book is for a class on genocides, not for a class on the Holocaust."
The Florida Department of Education says the book History of the Holocaust is about 73% in line with "subject-specific standards." It has to be at 90% to get approved.
The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida told me it’s "aware of the State of Florida’s decisions regarding book banning" and said it works closely to support Central Florida school districts with "quality resources about accurate Holocaust history and its implications for us as citizens today." Any decision not to adopt a book can be appealed.
The DOE said it will keep working with publishers to get their books to the point where they are approved.