A jaw-dropping assignment in a Florida public school district is peddling Donald Trump’s lie that the presidential election he lost was rigged.
The assignment at R. Dan Nolan Middle School in Bradenton presented sixth-grade students with a fact: “President Trump made claims that the 2020 election was stolen.” But calling his claims false — which they are — would be an example of “bias” in the media, according to the lesson.
“The media is often biased and will add words that persuade you to think one way or another,” warned the assignment. The sentence stating that the former president made the election claims “is just giving you information,” it said, but calling the claims false “leads you to believe he is wrong before you have all the facts.”
The startling lesson was shared among school parents and ended up in the hands of Ron Filipkowski, a Sarasota attorney who quit a commission in Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration two years ago in protest over his policies and now tracks conservative movements on Twitter and in the media.
The assignment is “actually the most biased example of bias I’ve seen,” the mother of a student in the School District of Manatee County told The Daily Beast on Friday. “It seems pretty out of place for a sixth-grade class,” she added.
The mother said she was among a number of parents who called the school to complain, with the principal promising to look into the issue.
The local school board issued a statement saying that the district is “committed to adhering to the curriculum and instructional standards set forth by the Florida Department of Education and Florida Statutes.”
Though the assignment was based a state-approved textbook, the handout given to students featured examples not included in its pages, district spokesman Michael Barber told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper.
The lesson had been created by a teacher who was absent, and it was distributed by a substitute, according to the official.
“The homework assignment does not meet the expectations of the School District of Manatee County,” Barber told the paper in a statement.
“A thorough review of future homework lessons in this course is taking place and remaining issues related to this assignment will be addressed.”
The district said on Twitter that it is “investigating the facts regarding the alleged assignment.”
Trump and his allies have failed to present evidence that the 2020 election was rigged, and investigations of state legislatures and dozens of court cases have found no justification for overturning its legitimate results.
Massive changes within the Florida school system have triggered a firestorm of controversy. A new state law — referred to as “Don’t Say Gay” legislation by critics — prohibits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in lower grades, and examinations of racism are severely restricted due to prohibitions against critical race theory, a systemic analysis of the subject.
DeSantis in July bizarrely complained about supposed “woke math” that is unconcerned with correct calculations.
“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?” he sarcastically asked at the time. “No. We gotta teach the kids to get the right answer.”
DeSantis boasted that Florida returned textbooks with so-called woke math to publishers, which “took the woke out and sent us back normal math books.”
Screening schoolbooks is an ongoing project of the DeSantis administration. A new state law requires that books be approved for suitability by state-certified media specialists.
A school district was forced last month to reject hundreds of donated dictionaries because it didn’t yet have enough trained specialists to review them.