More American Classrooms Open to Curriculum From PragerU in Defiance of ‘Woke Agendas’

PragerU says on its website its videos ‘teach classic American values.’

Tima Miroshnichenko
More students will be seeing PragerU videos. Tima Miroshnichenko

Louisiana’s K-12 schools could soon see a new curriculum that “promotes American values” and defies “woke agendas,” as the state’s education department is now partnering with a conservative nonprofit, PragerU, to add social studies resources to the classroom. 

Louisiana announced the collaboration last week, becoming the latest of seven states — including Oklahoma, Florida, Montana, Texas, New Hampshire, and Arizona — to open up its school curricula to PragerU, founded in 2009 by a talk show host, Dennis Prager. The company produces PragerU Kids, a series of short videos on topics ranging from American history to world politics, promoted as “Kids Shows You Can Trust.” 

The content has come under scrutiny by critics who say it’s meant to indoctrinate America’s youth by spreading misinformation on hot-button issues like climate change and the history of slavery. Advocates say it widens the potential educational offerings in public schools. While “woke agendas are infiltrating classrooms, culture, and social media,” PragerU says on its website, these videos “teach classic American values.”

“Our state was one of the first to adopt a new, rigorous set of social studies standards based in American exceptionalism and our ongoing quest for a more perfect union,” Louisiana’s superintendent of education, Cade Brumley, said in a statement to the Sun. “PragerU Kids completed a crosswalk of their videos to Louisiana standards, which could be very helpful for teachers and parents electing to use their supplemental materials.”

Texas is also reportedly looking to adopt PragerU’s platform but has received pushback from educators. The company said last August it is already partnering with Texas, yet state board of education members have not voted on the issue or made any official announcements. 

In July, Florida became the first state to allow its public schools to use PragerU materials as “supplemental curriculum,” meaning the videos are not required to be used but teachers will not be penalized for showing them. 

New Hampshire followed shortly after, voting in September to allow its public school students to earn partial graduation credits by watching a series of 15 five-minute videos from PragerU’s financial literacy course. The state’s education commissioner, Frank Edelblut, told reporters after the vote that “this provides another tool in their toolbox to make sure that they get a good education.”

When Oklahoma announced its partnership with PragerU in September, several of its largest school districts made clear that they would not include PragerU materials. An advocacy group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, opened an investigation into that partnership on the ground that PragerU presents “a Christian Nationalist and religious extremist and politically ultraconservative agenda” and causes “a church, state separation problem.”

In Louisiana, the videos are optional for teachers to use and are not in the education department’s standards or curriculum. It’s up to local school boards to set their own policies on how the content is used by teachers.

Yet some state lawmakers say that the latest move by Louisiana is a “concerted effort to infuse political indoctrination.” The Louisiana chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority appeared at a board meeting of the state’s Jefferson Parish School Board last week to protest the partnership, asserting that “PragerU openly acknowledges that its goal is to promote a conservative ideological viewpoint.”

A civil rights group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has called on Louisiana schools to drop PragerU “propaganda,” which it argues could “create a dangerous and disruptive environment” for Black and Muslim students.

To take one example of the content that critics are referencing: PragerU’s “Around the World” series showcases communism in North Korea, struggles for religious freedom in the Middle East, and other global issues to “teach middle and high school kids what makes America unique.” In one video, “Mateo Backs the Blue,” the son of Mexican immigrants at Los Angeles, Mateo, learns about how Black Lives Matter protests led to “anger and violence” and calls to abolish the police. He wonders, “Who would keep his neighborhood safe, if there were less police?”

The accessibility of the videos, though they are free to watch online, is also in question. Last Friday, Google suspended and indefinitely removed the PragerU app from its Play Store for a “Violation of Hate Speech.” The tech company referenced PragerU’s recently released documentary, “Dear Infidels: A Warning to America,” which asserts, “Radical Islam poses a significant threat to the West.” PragerU has in the past sued Google and YouTube for restricting access to more than 200 of its videos.

The New York Sun

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