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Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer, Florida’s rejected math textbooks, Islandia Journal

Courtesy of Islandia Journal

Democratic State Sen. Gary Farmer talks about his own party’s current shortcomings. A Florida educator who teaches future teachers has something to say about the state’s education policies. Plus, we talk with the publisher of Islandia Journal about extinct species and hidden Florida history.

On the Tuesday, May 3, edition of Sundial:

Florida Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer 

The Florida legislature is under Republican rule and has been for years.

What is the role of Democrats in the legislature? Are they doing enough to fight for the people that voted them into office?

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Sen. Gary Farmer is one South Florida Democrat who has not refrained from checking his own party.

He has argued that Democrats in Florida right now have "no guts" and "enable" the agenda set by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Farmer joined Sundial to discuss how his party is handling the political climate in Florida and his recent decision to run for judge at the 17th Circuit Court in Broward County.

Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer

Florida’s rejected math textbooks

Educators have been thrust onto the frontlines of today’s culture wars.

Florida has taken a lead nationally in proposing and passing controversial education initiatives that will impact classrooms––from identity conversations to the way history is taught.

Recently, the state’s department of education rejected 42 of 143 math textbooks, claiming they contain “prohibited topics,” which may include examples of Critical Race Theory and social-emotional learning.

“It is inane to reject books on the premise that they, God forbid, might include language around Socio-Emotional Learning or other prohibited topics,” wrote Anindya Kundu, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Florida International University, to his students in an email. “We’re being told we can’t think about children’s social and emotional needs and learn math at the same time, and I’m speaking up.”

Kundu teaches educators. He joined Sundial to discuss the books that were rejected and the state of education in Florida.

Florida’s rejected math textbooks

Islandia Journal

Do you love discovering hidden South Florida history? Maybe myths, folklore or the paranormal here?

The Islandia Journalis a quarterly "(sub)tropical" periodical that looks to give its readers all of that in each issue.

You have poetry, essays, 'Selections from UFOS Over Florida,' and illustrations of Mac's Club Deuce on Miami Beach. That's just in the third and most recent issue.

Jason Katz is the Journal's founder and publisher. He joined Sundial to discuss the labor of love that goes into each issue and why he wanted to make something that's still a paper subscription in a digital world.

"I wanted to create a way to keep it going and to be able to pay contributors," he said. "I wanted to create more of a token into a world rather than a pure publication."

The Journal, which received a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Grant, is active on Instagram and Katz hopes that digital could be in the future someday.

Katz even shared some hidden history on the program, including the journal's namesake incorporated in 1951 and dissolved in 2011, according to the Miami New Times:

"The "Lost City of Islandia" was 33 islands in Biscayne Bay all of which are now part of Biscayne National Park," he said. "The biggest island in the City of Islandia is Elliot Key."

Islandia Journal

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Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the lead producer behind WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.