A group out of Boca Raton said today that they will file a lawsuit on Thursday in Palm Beach County against the state of Florida, the state's Department of Education, and Governor Rick Scott, challenging the new law passed earlier this year by the Legislature regarding the selection of Florida public school textbooks.
That new law eliminates the current process of using statewide committees of teachers, school board members, administrators and ordinary citizens to select textbooks, and instead gives more power to the Education Commissioner.
The bill requires the commissioner to select three state or national “subject matter experts” to review books for each subject, with only two reviewing the books and the third acting as a tie-breaker.
Then, school districts can appoint one teacher or district curriculum specialist to review a handful of the recommendations by the state reviewers. Ultimately, school districts have to spend 50 percent of their textbook budgets on books approved by the state reviewers, giving districts the ability to stray beyond the list.
In its lawsuit, CFNS accuses the FDOE and the Governor of gutting the provisions that previously called for a large cross-section of educators and community members to voluntarily serve on a committee to review the content of all textbooks used in the Florida public schools, and has replaced it with three people who are handpicked by politicians who will operate without any public oversight.