Rather than use the traditional approach of choosing instructional materials from a list vetted and approved by the Florida Department of Education, Marion County is the first school district to forgo the list and review and select textbooks on their own. I posted that interesting news back in September. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard much about the process or the motivations behind it since then. Why are they putting in the extra time, effort and expense to do it themselves?
This seems like quite a newsworthy event
and yet no media outlet has jumped on it until now (edited to add: my mistake, other media outlets did report on this back in September, but none of those stores had any mention of science book complaints). The Orlando Fox News station interviewed superintendent Heidi Maier: Residents could have direct input on school textbooks. Here’s an interesting tidbit (bold emphasis mine):
“I said there has to be a way to chose our own and in statute there was, it’s called pathway A. Pathway B is using the state list, we chose to go with pathway A, so we will be able to choose our own textbooks,” said Superintendent Dr. Heidi Maier.
Maier was receiving complaints about the district’s science and history books, along with complaints about low reading proficiency in students throughout the district. It’s a problem that teachers, we spoke to, say needs to be addressed through the text children are reading.
The reporter apparently didn’t follow up or report on what those science textbook complaints were about. I think a public records request to find that out for ourselves is in order.
Marion County residents, please report in to us. Your activism is sorely needed.