California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) threatened to “expose” unnamed publishers Saturday, demanding they reveal any changes made to textbooks designed for use in Florida schools.
“The extremists in Florida and textbook companies that are colluding with them are about to be exposed,” Newsom tweeted.
Newsom added language suggesting Florida textbooks may “rewrite history in a back room.” Further, he suggested basic facts about segregation, the Holocaust, and the story of Rosa Parks are being erased.
Newsom appended a letter to his tweet, dated May 20. The letter was generically addressed to “Publisher” and gave a June 1 deadline for compliance.
In his letter, Newsom insists Californians “deserve to know whether any of the companies designing textbooks for our state’s classrooms are the same ones kowtowing to Florida’s extremist agenda.”
Newson stopped short of naming specific consequences for non-compliance with his demand, saying only that California would “not be complicit” It is unclear whether he plans to take action to punish publishers in some way if he discovers they designed textbooks for Florida in a manner Newsom finds unpalatable.
Newsom did not explain how publishers are engaging in “design” when crafting textbooks that meet the Golden State’s requirements, but are “kowtowing” when crafting textbooks to meet the Sunshine State’s requirements.
Gavin’s letter demands an unnamed publisher reveal details about doing business in Florida, including “providing excerpts reflecting any changes that your company agreed to make in response to Florida’s demands.”
In addition to pressuring the publisher, Newsom’s letter says he demanded that Florida officials reveal similar information. He said his office submitted a request to Gov. DeSantis’ office and Florida’s Department of Education for “all communications between their offices and textbook publishers reflecting revisions that publishers proposed in order to get their textbooks approved for use in Florida.”
Florida’s Department of Education announced May 9 that 66 of 101 submissions for new social studies textbooks had been rejected, NPR reported.
The number of accepted submissions was bumped from 19 after publishers made changes required to comport with Florida law regarding accuracy and other matters. Florida’s DOE provided several “before” and “after” examples of such changes on its website.
Concerns prompting change requests included: age inappropriateness, inaccurate description of socialism, politically charged language when referencing the Hebrew Bible, inaccurate descriptions of communism, and unsolicited content addressing calls for social justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Submissions are reviewed by “subject matter experts … to ensure that the final materials ultimately meet Florida’s bid specifications and align to Florida’s state academic standards.”
Textbooks that are approved can be purchased by Florida school districts. Non-adoption decisions can be appealed.
In an apparent, less-than-subtle effort to suggest there may be consequences for publishers who choose not to acquiesce to Gov. Newsom’s edict, he included an offer for his Office of Legal Affairs to answer any questions publishers may have about the demand.
TheBlaze reached out to Gov. DeSantis (R-Fla.) for comment on Gov. Newsom’s demands. A response was not received in time for publication.
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