Textbook selection process to change?

Hmmmm … did this slip by everyone unnoticed until now? And even now there is only one reporter on the story so far. This seems like a rather significant change, don’t you think?

Florida Textbook Adoption Process May Be In For Big Changes

Fewer people will approve what textbooks Florida students should use under a bill that dramatically changes the state’s textbook adoption procedures.

The measure eliminates the current process of using statewide committees of teachers, school board members, administrators and ordinary citizens to select textbooks, and instead gives more power to the Education Commissioner.

Teachers and school board members critical of the change say it weakens the voice of teachers and the public in the textbook adoption process, opening it up to a potentially more politics and corruption. But others defend the change as a minor tweak that saves the state money and shifts responsibility for textbook reviews to experts.

The proposal (SB 2120) is contained in an education budget bill that will likely be approved by Gov. Rick Scott this month. The bill requires the commissioner to select three state or national “subject matter experts” to review books for each subject, with only two reviewing the books and the third acting as a tie-breaker.

Who proposed this idea? Rep. Marti Coley. Remember back in 2008 when our state science standards were revised and evolution was included? Coley didn’t like that.

Two Florida legislators supported the standards as written, Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach and minority leader of the House of Representatives, and Rep. Ed Homan, R-Tampa, an orthopedic surgeon, while Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, supported the addition of “theory” as a way to fix the dogmatic approach to evolution.

“We are not asking for you to give watered down information to our students. We are simply asking the word ‘theory’ be used,” Coley told the Board.

Another story:

Opponents to the inclusion of evolution in Florida science standards were the majority such as State Rep. Marti Coley. The Republican from Marianna she was representing her constituents who want the word theory added to the evolution standard.

And another story:

State Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, who represents nine Panhandle counties, said her part of the state is “very conservative” and that the revised standards clash with many residents’ beliefs.

Coley has urged the state board to ensure evolution is taught as a theory, not a fact. She said she and other lawmakers will push to make such a requirement state law if the board approves the standards as is.

“I think it would be irresponsible to present it like that in our public schools,” Coley said.

Is there a connection between this change in textbook adoption and subjects Coley and others disagree with? I don’t know,  but the bread crumbs are there to follow.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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3 Responses to Textbook selection process to change?

  1. Ivory Girl says:

    Leaving aside the “theory not fact” issue (I’m so sick of hearing that),most smaller counties with much reduced budgets, simple are unable to spend money on the new recomended text books. I know this is a issue in Manatee and Highland school districts.

  2. susan says:

    It’s sad to see how Florida seems to be regressing rather than progressing. Theories and beliefs are not the same thing.

  3. Jonathan Smith says:

    Those school districts that have the funding for the new text books have already begun purchasing them. I don’t think that the current legislative recommendations will effect the textbook selections for many years. I’m sure we will have time to reject this idea and hopefully make the changes in Tallahassee.

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