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PragerU: Coming to a Public College Close to You?

Israel is “the one nation within the Center East that doesn’t oppress its minority populations”; local weather change deniers are tantamount to Jewish resistance fighters who rose up towards the Nazis; and British colonists, who brutally dominated the Indian subcontinent, had been benevolent reformers making an attempt to save lots of indigenous folks from their very own “dangerous traditions.”

These are only a few of the distorted teachings that had been sanctioned to be used in Florida’s elementary, center, and excessive faculties final month when PragerU was named an official schooling vendor for the state. It was simply the newest escalation within the struggle on public schooling being waged by Ron DeSantis and his administration, even because the state hemorrhages lecturers who want to keep out of the ideological fray.

Precisely how PragerU’s content material was accepted to be used in Florida faculties stays unclear. Marissa Streit, PragerU’s chief government officer, attributed the Division of Training’s resolution to her group’s supporters. “PragerU has a really giant viewers, who’ve been useful to us on this course of,” she instructed Self-importance Truthful. In any case, schooling advocates like Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Training Affiliation, argue that the choice is a scientific affront to the varsity system. “There may be an all-out assault on curriculum in Florida,” he instructed Self-importance Truthful, “and it’s a part of this entire thought of undermining public schooling.”

Florida isn’t the one state making an attempt to convey PragerU to the eyes and ears of scholars. “I’ve had conversations with PragerU to [adopt their materials],” Ryan Walters, the state superintendent of Oklahoma faculties, mentioned in a latest interview. “I work very intently with the DeSantis administration about what it’s doing with schooling.” The state board of schooling in New Hampshire additionally weighed using PragerU programs on monetary literacy, however the proposal was tabled final week in mild of the backlash to Florida’s resolution.


Regardless of what its honorific may indicate, Prager College––so named for its cofounder, the conservative talk-radio host Dennis Prager––just isn’t an accredited instructional establishment. It’s a right-wing media outlet and 501(c)(3) nonprofit that primarily creates brief video explainers.

Amongst its most notable funders are fracking trade billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks, who’ve given no less than $6.5 million and beforehand lobbied for bringing “the Bible again into the varsity.” PragerU has additionally acquired no less than $215,000 from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Basis, a right-wing charitable belief that has spent thousands and thousands fueling the right-wing panic over election fraud. Nonetheless, Streit contends that her group is, in some way, grassroots. “We now have 300,000 donors from all around the nation,” she mentioned in a video responding to criticisms of PragerU’s cope with the state of Florida. “Accredited nowadays is synonymous with managed,” she says in the identical video, “and so if we really get an accreditation, that will imply we’d be managed by political elites [and] the Division of Training, which is mainly a sellout to the … union bosses.”

What’s extra, Streit says within the video, the creators behind PragerU’s content material––a roster that features Ben Shapiro, Charlie Kirk, Jordan Peterson, Candace Owens, and Tucker Carlson––are seemingly “extra credible” than most lecturers and professors at accredited establishments of studying.

For Kevin Kruse, a professor of American historical past at Princeton College, all of that is trigger for immense concern. “That is a part of a nationwide effort to exchange American historical past with propaganda and indoctrination,” Kruse instructed me, “to have a patriotically right model of the previous taught to kids. However they’re cheapening and debasing the schooling that college students obtain.”

Dennis Prager himself, as Kruse famous, has described PragerU content material as a type of indoctrination. “‘You indoctrinate children—which is true,” Prager mentioned of his critics final month. “We convey doctrines to kids. That’s a particularly reasonable assertion, I mentioned, however what’s the unhealthy about our indoctrination?”