Science textbook removed from adoption consideration in Marion County

I’ve been doing my best to fill in the blanks and obtain updates on my earlier post March is a busy month for science textbook adoptions. In that post I listed every Florida school district and what each one’s science textbook adoption schedule is. Unfortunately, there are a lot of blanks on that list as many district websites don’t have the relevant information posted, at least not in an easy to find place. I’ve had a few people message and email me with updates, which is awesome and sincerely appreciated! But we need so many more. Please consider taking a look at what is happening in your own school district and helping us stay up to date. If you look back at that post you’ll see that I’ve added several updates concerning the results of school board hearings and votes. So far I’ve encountered very little opposition to the textbooks based on creationist or climate change denial arguments. That’s great news and I hope that trend continues. The few times when a creationist protested in some way has been documented in older blog posts, such as Clay County and Nassau County.

The only concern I’ve recently come across is in Marion County. If you’ll recall, this is the district that announced they were going to strike out on their own and not rely on the Florida Department of Education’s approved list. In February a list of textbooks was presented to the school board and approved without any fuss. But a few books were removed from consideration and so the board didn’t vote on them.

  • M/J Physical Science- HMH Florida Physical Science: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: According to the presentation given at the board meeting, this book was removed due to concerns a middle school teacher had about its content. Unfortunately, the specifics were not explained at the meeting, so I don’t know what those content concerns were.
  • Physical Science Holt Science Spectrum: Physical Science Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: This book was removed from consideration because there was inadequate parent input throughout the review process.
  • M/J World History World History: Ancient Civilizations, Florida Edition Cengage Learning: This book was removed from consideration because there was inadequate parent input throughout the review process.

If anyone reading this is in Marion County, would you be so kind as to find out what the content problems were with the first Physical Science book, please?

Edited to add: Here is what was said during the board meeting about the Physical Science book (See the video here. The quoted part starts at about 1:41:08. Note that this is copied from the transcript generated by YouTube and so it may not be exactly accurate.):

The first one that I want to call attention to is specifically physical science. You had the absolute pleasure of hearing from one of our own Marion County middle school teachers that had grave concerns about this book. So upon hearing that our wonderful work of our Secondary Education Department listen to those concerns we actually had personnel that actually went out sat down with that wonderful teacher and really listened to the concerns and it was a substantive concern that this is not in the best interest of our students and this is not the most appropriate resource to put in front of them and we take that seriously. That is the exact reason why we have this process is not only to get the feedback of the actual reviewers themselves but also to listen to comments warranted through this process so we thank that wonderful teacher for bringing this to our attention as we as district did not evaluate for content. So we applaud her for her collegiality and engaging in academic discourse with us so we could understand what the actual issues with the book were so that we can once again start another simultaneous process to ensure that we have materials fit and suited for our students engaging in that specific course for physical science.

The speaker said “You had the absolute pleasure of hearing from one of our own Marion County middle school teachers …” but I don’t know what that references. It could be from earlier in the meeting and I haven’t found that segment, or it could mean they heard from the teacher at some other meeting.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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