California Governor Gavin Newsom has launched an investigation into the developers of school textbooks to ensure that history lessons in the state are not impacted by “kowtowing to Florida’s extremist agenda.”
Under Republican governor Ron DeSantis, he Florida government has implemented several unprecedented education policies within the last two years. The state's "Don't Say Gay" law prohibits the instruction of LGBTQ+ identities in public schools K-12, with instructors under the threat of felony charges and having their teaching licenses revoked. Many districts have seen book bans on materials with queer or racial identity.
At the college level, diversity, equity, and inclusion measures have been outlawed, going so far as to prevent gender studies or African American History majors. Florida previously rejected a nationally taught AP African American Studies course, with DeSantis stating it "lacks educational value."
Florida officials have since gone back-and-forth with education experts over which subjects should be allowed in schools. The College Board, which oversees AP tests as well as the SAT, accused the state government of "slander" after the AP African American Studies course was rejected.
Most recently, social studies lessons proposed by publishers for grades K-12 in Florida were overwhelmingly rejected by the Florida government, who refused to permit 81 percent of the proposed materials, including lessons on personal financial literacy, psychology, and Holocaust education.
Newsom expressed Sunday that he and other California officials are now concerned that the publishers rewriting material for Florida will distribute the rewritten material to other states. According to a statement from the California government to companies, the governor is “demanding records from publishers and Florida to find out whether any of the companies designing California’s textbooks are the same ones kowtowing to Florida’s extremist agenda."
\u201cParents have a right to know what\u2019s happening to undermine kids' education.\n\nGovernor Newsom is demanding records from publishers and Florida to find out whether any of the companies designing California\u2019s textbooks are the same ones kowtowing to Florida\u2019s extremist agenda.\u201d— Office of the Governor of California (@Office of the Governor of California) 1684625220
“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," Newsom wrote, "and California deserves to know whether any of the companies designing textbooks for our state's classrooms are the same ones kowtowing to Florida's extremist agenda."
Newsom released the full statement to publishers via Twitter, adding on his own account: “You don’t get to rewrite history in a back room. You don’t get to erase basic facts around segregation, the holocaust, or Rosa Parks’ story. The extremists in Florida and textbook companies that are colluding with them are about to be exposed."
\u201cYou don't get to rewrite history in a back room.\n\nYou don't get to erase basic facts around segregation, the holocaust, or Rosa Parks' story.\n\nThe extremists in Florida and textbook companies that are colluding with them are about to be exposed.\u201d— Gavin Newsom (@Gavin Newsom) 1684681468