Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis claimed in a speech in Tampa to the conservative group Moms for Liberty he will stop teachers in Florida schools from teaching "woke math," his latest attack against public education.
DeSantis absurdly suggesed liberals and progressives are using math classes as an opportunity to teach children about social injustice, a nod to the conservative preoccupation with critical race theory, a body of legal and academic scholarship that aims to examine how racism and disparate racial outcomes have shaped public policy via often implicit social and institutional dynamics.
Though he never defined what "woke math" actually is, he made the baseless claim that schools are no longer teaching students that "2 plus 2 equals 4."
You can hear what DeSantis said in the video below.
"We recently had these reviews that the Department of Education was doing in Florida. In these math books they were doing woke math."
“I’m just thinking to myself, like, 2 plus 2 equals 4. It’s not 2 plus 2 equals: 'Well how do you feel about that? Is that an injustice?'”
“No. We gotta teach the kids to get the right answer, that's just the end of the day."
DeSantis's remarks were greeted with applause. He added that the Department of Education sent these "woke books" back to publishers who then “took the woke out and sent us back normal math books."
There is no such thing as "woke math."
While the Florida’s Department of Education did return thousands of textbooks to publishers, the "woke content" the agency took issue with amounted to just four pages, including one that included a bar graph showing that people over 65 and political conservatives tend to express more racial prejudice.
DeSantis's critics quickly took him to task for such a bold lie.
The pushback against public education in Florida reached a fever pitch after the passage of the Parental Rights in Education bill, or H.B. 1557, which DeSantis signed into law earlier this year. The bill, colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, aims to “reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children in a specified manner.”
The law has received nationwide attention for forbidding “a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a specified manner," though the law also applies to conversations about racism and social justice.
Last year, DeSantis made headlines after he announced the “Stop Woke Act,” legislation intended to stop schools from teaching critical race theory.
Critical race theory is taught in colleges, not in public schools, and certainly not to young children, but DeSantis has continued to push these falsehoods as he continues to court conservatives who’ve given in to these conspiracies at a time when efforts to reposition the consequences and legacy of slavery as elements vital to the historical narrative continue to gain traction.
DeSantis signed the legislation, officially titled the “Stop Wrongs against Our Kids and Employees Act," into law in April and it went into effect earlier this month.
The law empowers parents to file lawsuits to enforce the prohibition of critical race theory lessons in public schools, defund primary and secondary education in the event they school consultants on the theory, and bars its concepts from being included in employee training.