Unaccredited conservative nonprofit PragerU authorized to teach biased curriculum for kids in Florida
Florida approves controversial conservative videos from PragerU for public school curriculum, raising concerns about biased education.
Welcome to the Reckon Daily, where we engage in conversations about marginalized communities and shed light on under-covered issues. Today, we discuss the recent approval of videos from the conservative Prager University Foundation (PragerU) by the Florida Department of Education, under the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis. This decision has sparked controversy due to PragerU's questionable curriculum.
PragerU, a self-proclaimed "world's leading conservative nonprofit," offers free curriculum to both public and private schools. However, it has faced criticism for various reasons. One major concern is its tendency to whitewash Black history, denying the existence of climate change, promoting colonization, and injecting opinion into its curriculum.
The prominent figure behind PragerU is co-founder and conservative radio host Dennis Prager. He has been known to make controversial statements, such as chastising Democrats for making it "impossible to say the n-word" and using a slur for Jewish people on his radio show. In an op-ed for Newsweek, Prager claimed that sending kids to college endangers their minds and character, suggesting that they become more intolerant and foolish as a result.
PragerU's CEO, Marissa Streit, shares the belief that the American education system is failing students by teaching "leftism" instead of critical thinking skills. Another presenter, Karly Borysenko, even went as far as to claim that everyone who died in the Holocaust chose to die before they were born. These statements and beliefs have raised concerns about the credibility and accuracy of PragerU's curriculum.
The funding sources of PragerU also align with the messages presented in its curriculum. Texan billionaires Farris and Dan Wilks, who made their fortune from oil and gas fracking, as well as the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which opposes climate regulations and advocates for low immigration, contribute to PragerU's funding. In fact, PragerU spent more on Facebook advertising in 2018 than major political campaigns and national advocacy groups, making it one of the top 10 biggest political spenders on the platform.
One of the most concerning aspects of PragerU's presence in classrooms is the way its videos present opinions as facts. This can be misleading for young viewers who perceive these videos as educational content. While individual school districts have the authority to decide whether to include these videos in their curriculum, the ultimate decision lies with the teachers, as PragerU is now state-endorsed.
With approximately 3 million students in Florida schools, the impact of PragerU's curriculum is significant. Jessica Wright, the vice president of the Florida Freedom to Read Project, raises concerns about the limited resources available to educators. She explains that when faced with a lack of options, teachers may resort to using PragerU as a readily available resource, despite its questionable content.
Although Florida is the first state to approve PragerU videos, many are worried that this decision may set a precedent for other states. Unfortunately, Florida is not the only state that shies away from teaching the truth. For instance, Texas science curriculum now requires schools to teach positive lessons about fossil fuels, further highlighting the need for accurate and unbiased education.
It is crucial to critically evaluate the sources and content of educational materials to ensure that students receive a well-rounded and accurate education. The inclusion of biased and misleading materials can hinder the development of critical thinking skills and perpetuate misinformation. As we navigate these challenges, it is essential to prioritize the truth and the comprehensive education of our future generations.