Miami-Dade school board to review social studies material amid politicized textbook debate

View list of instructional materials Miami-Dade schools committee recommends below

MIAMI – Miami-Dade County Public Schools has announced a plan to abide by Florida law requiring districts to review core instructional materials.

The Miami-Dade School Board has since received a list of social studies textbooks they will have to endorse before they end up in the classroom next school year.

“This is critically important,” said school board member Steve Gallon.

Historically, this has been a routine process for the school board, but in this highly politicized world we live in, there is a lot of scrutiny over what ends up in the classroom and school libraries, not to mention new laws from Tallahassee pushing more parental involvement.

“That has required districts to create safeguards and appropriately establish a formalized process which we now see,” said Gallon.

The textbooks were selected by committees comprised of social studies classroom teachers, district staff and the parents of students who will be using the materials.

Back in June, nearly 1,500 parents volunteered to be part of these committees. Of those, 47 parents ended up going through the entire selection process. The district granted public online access to the materials recommended on Sept. 7.

“I think the process worked,” said school board member Luisa Santos. “I think the process involved so many hundreds of people over the last couple months.”

But on Tuesday, it was all about the public.

Some speakers said they reviewed some of the books and are concerned about the content.

In one fourth-grade book, Holly Zwerling said slavery is watered down.

“This is unacceptable,” she said. “Children need to understand the term slavery and what it means.”

Added concerned citizen Stephanie Rook: “It appears that we are not allowed to look back into our history because it may hurt our child’s feelings or make a child feel guilty.”

The school board will hold a hearing on Wednesday that will allow public comment and another public meeting on Oct. 11 to approve a plan.

The petition deadline to contest the adoption of instructional material is in November.

Subject: K-3 Social Studies

KFlorida History Makers: Myself, My School, My CommunityAnalytic Orange, Inc. (2021)
1Florida History Makers: My Family, My CommunityAnalytic Orange (2021)
2Florida History Makers: My Country and My StateAnalytic Orange (2024)
3Florida History Makers: Our Regions, Our Country, Our WorldAnalytic Orange (2022)

Subject: Social Studies

4Florida StudiesMcGraw Hill LLC
5United States HistoryGallopade International, Inc.
6U.S. History: Florida and United States History: My World InteractiveSavvas Learning Company LLC
7Civics and GovernmentGallopade International, Inc.
8National Geographic World History Ancient CivilizationsCengage Learning
9World History Florida EditionMcGraw Hill
11National Geographic U.S. History 1877 to Present Florida EditionCengage Learning
U.S. GovernmentFlorida Magruder’s American Government InteractiveSavvas Learning Company
Economics with Financial LiteracyEconomics with Financial LiteracyMcGraw Hill
Personal FinancePersonal and Family FinanceeDynamic Holdings LP.
AP World HistoryWays of the World for AP Modern (5th ed)Bedford Freeman and Worth Publishing Group
AP U.S. HistoryBrinkley, American History: Connecting with the Past AP Edition, 16eMcGraw Hill
AP U.S. Government & PoliticsAmerican Government: Stories of a NationBedford Freeman and Worth Publishing Group
AP Human GeographyA Spatial PerspectiveCengage
AP Macro EconomicsKrugman’s Macroeconomics for AP (4th ed)Bedford Freeman and Worth Publishing Group

For more information about the recommendations, visit this page.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.