Salon attacks Florida for book ban that isn’t. Oops.

April 18, 2022

By Tim Worstall

Salon is sure that Florida banned Math books over Critical Race Theory.  When, in fact, it’s just the normal process of deciding which textbooks the State should approve for use in public schools. This isn’t  a process of banning, it’s one of approving.

But here’s Salon: “Florida bans selection of math text books for critical race theory reasons” 

Well, no. Broadly in the United States there are two textbook selection systems.  In one system, the school district decides what is going to use to teach children. In the other system, as in Florida, the state decides. Clearly, someone has to decide at some point because – as in Florida – the state or the school district is going to pay for the books.

Well, which books are they going to buy? 

The big goal in American textbook publishing is to get on those lists in as many places as possible. As we all know, tastes and styles differ around a country. So, some books will do well in one place, others in another.  Laws that determine what books should or should not be used are made on the local or state level. 

What Salon calls “banned” is actually “not selected.” Meaning, these books were not selected for the list of books that the state of Florida will buy for schoolchildren.  They were not selected because the state believes they don’t meet required standards. 

Florida Governor Ron Desantis plainly said that some of the books were not chosen because they “incorporate prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including CRT.

Again, not being chosen is not the same as being banned.

Salon ranks around number 60 on the listings of media sites for law and government. It gets some 9 million visits a month.  It is influential in progressive circles – largely because it reinforces progressive beliefs.

But it’s true that not being chosen is not the same as being banned. Yet Salon insists that these unchosen books are being banned. That is simply incorrect.

The books aren’t banned. It’s just that the State of Florida won’t pay for them.   So, is the argument now that government shouldn’t check what it pays for? 



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