Florida Rejects Over 50 Math Textbooks, Citing Critical Race Theory
Tina Burnside, Zoe Sottile, and Nicole Chavez for CNN report that Florida’s Department of Education (DOE) announced Friday that the state has “rejected more than 50 math textbooks from next school year’s curriculum, citing references to critical race theory among reasons for the rejections.” A DOE news release titled “Florida Rejects Publishers’ Attempts to Indoctrinate Students” states that several publishers have used “prohibited and divisive concepts such as the tenants [sic] of CRT or other unsolicited strategies of indoctrination…” The release also said the state rejected 41% of textbooks submitted, 54 out of 132, which is the most in Florida’s history. DOE said that the textbook submissions would not be added to the state’s adopted list because they contained “prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies,” and “unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics.”
The authors note that scholars who study critical race theory say it explores the ways in which a history of inequality and racism in the United States continues to impact American society today. The teaching of critical race theory was banned in Florida schools in June 2021. Gov. Ron DeSantis stated last summer that critical race theory teaches children that “the country is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate.” Research from PRRI finds that vast majorities of all demographic groups say that we should teach American history that includes both our best achievements and our worst mistakes as a country, including Republicans (80%), independents (86%), and Democrats (90%). One-third of Americans (34%) said they have heard nothing at all about critical race theory, 44% said they have heard a little, and only 19% said they have heard a lot. Republicans who most trust Fox News (30%) and far-right news outlets like Newsmax and One America News (37%) are more likely than Republicans overall (20%) to say they have heard a lot about critical race theory.
‘Big Cities’ vs. ‘Graying America:’ Approaching County-Level Religion in a New Way
A collaborative effort between PRRI and the American Communities Project (ACP) recently examined the dynamics of religious divisions between urban and rural America. While it is well known that urban areas are becoming increasingly Democratic while rural areas are becoming increasingly Republican, the collaborative research combining data from PRRI’s 2020 Census of American Religion with ACP’s 15 typologies for U.S. counties explains these differences and “reveal a patchwork of faith experiences.” PRRI and ACP found that most residents of jurisdictions classified as “Big Cities” (e.g., the District of Columbia) and “Urban Suburbs” (e.g., Arlington County, Va.) claim a religious affiliation—72% in Big Cities and 74% in Urban Suburbs—although their religious affiliations are among the most diverse in the country. White Christian shares are larger in suburban and exurban areas, while Christians of color are more likely to live in urban areas.
Big Cities and Urban Suburbs are the only communities where shares of any individual non-Christian religious residents make up more than 1% of the population, the authors note. In the rural and working-class communities, religion is dominated by Christian beliefs. Around three-quarters or more residents are Christians, including 73% of “Graying America,” 78% of “Rural Middle America,” 80% of “Working Class Country,” 83% of “Aging Farmlands,” and 83% of “Evangelical Hubs.” Groups of Christians of color are extremely small in these communities: less than 1 in 10 residents of Evangelical Hubs are Black Protestants (6%), while 4% of residents of Graying America are Hispanic Catholics and 2% are Hispanic Protestants. Interestingly, around one-quarter of residents of Graying America are religiously unaffiliated, compared to smaller shares of Rural Middle America (22%), Working Class Country (20%), Evangelical Hubs (17%), and Aging Farmlands (17%). The researchers found the most diverse religious patterns from the other community types were “Military Posts,” “College Towns,” and “LDS [Latter-day Saints] Enclaves.” An interactive map of ACP’s 15 county typologies is available here.
Texans’ Views on Transgender Communities
In a recent spotlight analysis, Madelyn Snodgrass parsed PRRI data on attitudes regarding LGBTQ issues against the backdrop of executive action in Texas directed at transgender youth and their families. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion in February that gender reassignment procedures and gender-affirming treatments, “when performed on children, can legally constitute child abuse under … Texas Family Code.” Omar Ochoa for The Crime Report, a comprehensive news service at John Jay College of Criminal Justice covering the challenges and issues of U.S. criminal justice, highlighted that Paxton’s non-binding legal opinion has left families whose children are in transgender therapy in limbo. Following the opinion, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott formally called on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to perform “prompt and thorough investigation of any reported instances” of child abuse involving the use of gender-affirming health care. Along with this, “licensed professionals who have direct contact with children” are also required to report on suspected abuse. This has led to child welfare workers resigning across the state, including one transgender man who joined the Child Protective Services Division specifically to be the advocate he never had growing up. Last month, a Texas appeals court upheld an injunction preventing the state from conducting these investigations.
Anne M. Coughlin and Naomi Cahn for The Washington Post write that, in addition to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association also recommend that gender-affirming treatment be given to children and adolescents with gender dysphoria. PRRI research found that a majority of Americans (55%) would be comfortable if their own children told them they were transgender. Texans in general would be less comfortable with learning their children were transgender, but still half (49%) say they would be okay with it.