PragerU’s ‘Propaganda’ Videos Infiltrate Another State’s Classrooms

REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge
REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

Following in Florida’s footsteps, Oklahoma’s anti-woke-obsessed education boss announced Tuesday that the state had become the second to welcome right-wing “PragerU Kids” instructional material into its classrooms statewide.

Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters, who has made a name for himself by declaring that race was not a factor in the Tulsa Race Massacre, wrote in a statement that he was “thrilled” to announce a partnership with PragerU, claiming it will “ensure high quality materials rich in American history and values” to Oklahomans.

Despite its name, PragerU is not an accredited academic institution. It’s an uber-conservative advocacy group that’s become infamous for its videos that opine on hot-button cultural issues and historical events, regularly stirring up controversy since it was founded in 2009 by the conservative radio host Dennis Prager.

The breadth of PragerU’s content—which includes thousands of videos, podcasts, and more—has not been approved for the classroom in Oklahoma. Instead, the approval includes videos under the company’s “PragerU Kids” subsection, which a source close to PragerU told The Daily Beast is largely produced by the same staffers tasked with PragerU’s traditional content.

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Florida gave the OK for PragerU Kids’ material in the classroom in July. The state’s board of education told The Daily Beast it made the decision because PragerU “aligns to Florida’s revised civics and government standards” under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

PragerU CEO Marissa Streit said she was “ecstatic” with Florida’s decision at the time. She did not try to hide her political bias in speaking about PragerU’s infiltration of the classroom—a likely sign that PragerU Kids’ content will likely continue to be unabashedly right wing.

“A couple of years ago we launched PragerU kids because parents have been frustrated; teachers have been frustrated,” Streit said in July. “We have seen that our schools have been hijacked by the left. They have been politicized. They have been used by union bosses. They have been doing everything under the sun not for our children.”

A press release from PragerU echoed Streit’s comments, saying teachers are “sick and tired of curriculum laced with radical political agendas—from Critical Race Theory and gender fluidity to overt anti-Americanism.”

But PragerU has been slammed regularly for inaccuracies in its content, including videos that deny climate change, and for standing by staffers who make outlandish—and sometimes outright racist—statements.

Not all of PragerU Kids’ material has an overt political leaning, but their educational value is questionable. Some of those videos reviewed by The Daily Beast included titles such as First Responder Friendship Bracelets, How To Embrace Your Masculinity, and How To Take Care of an American Flag.

Others were akin to outright American nationalism, including titles such as How To Be a Rational Patriot. That 10-minute video explains how America “is more than a place on a map, it’s a set of values stemming from Judeo-Christian principles.”

“America is one of the freest countries on the face of the planet,” the video says. “One million people request to immigrate to the U.S. every year because they know how amazing America is. The opportunities in this country are limitless, and the quality of life is better than it's ever been throughout human history.”

Another video, titled Leo & Layla Meet Frederick Douglass, features a cartoon version of Douglass, the famed anti-slavery abolitionist, describing slavery as a compromise between the Founding Fathers and the Southern colonies.

In Florida, teachers are not required to use PragerU Kids’ material, but it is available for use as “supplemental curriculum” at their discretion.

Dan Isett, a spokesperson for Walters’ office, told The Daily Beast in an email on Tuesday that PragerU Kids’ material is available for immediate use in Oklahoma. He said PragerU offered the material to the state free of charge.

Waters and Oklahoma schools have been embroiled in controversy this year. Since he was sworn into office in January, Walters has likened teachers’ unions to terrorist organizations, claimed schools were being infiltrated by the Chinese government, and has publicly announced himself as an ally to Moms for Liberty—an entity labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center

Most recently, bomb threats were repeatedly called in at public schools in Tulsa—all stemming from chaos brought on by a satirical TikTok video where a librarian joked about being “woke.”

The Oklahoma Education Association, the state’s teacher’s union, had not made a comment about Walters’ announcement on Tuesday but others within Oklahoma schools voiced their anger online.

“I am an Oklahoma teacher,” posted a Twitter user named Taron Pounds. “I refuse to show PragerU’s revisionist propaganda to impressionable minds.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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