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Oklahoma’s Education Department partners with group known for spreading disinformation

PragerU is not actually a university, but a conservative nonprofit that bills itself as an alternative to ‘left-wing ideology.’

By Will Fritz - September 07, 2023
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Screenshot of the PragerU Kids website.
Screenshot of the PragerU Kids website.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is now partnering with conservative nonprofit PragerU — a nonprofit organization that has long been accused of spreading false and misleading information on a variety of subjects.

In a press release posted on Sept. 5 to Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Education Ryan Walters’ page on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, the department described PragerU as providing “educational, entertaining, pro-American kids content.”

Despite its name, PragerU is in no way an educational institution. The Prager University Foundation — the entity’s full name — is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that, by its own description, “offers a free alternative to the dominant left-wing ideology in culture, media, and education.” It was founded in 2009 by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager.

Its videos have previously been removed by Facebook for alleged hate speech, although the social media giant later apologized for that.

Just last month, the organization was criticized for a factually incorrect video that included an animation of Frederick Douglass defending slavery as a “compromise” and criticizing abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.

The nonprofit is also behind a video that features another animated depiction of a historical figure — this one of Christopher Columbus — saying: “Being taken as a slave is better than being killed, no?”

PragerU has also spread lies about climate change in videos with titles like “Is There Really a Climate Emergency?” and “Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree?”

PragerU also sued Google in 2017 for restricting some of its YouTube content, including a video titled “Are 1 in 5 women in college raped?” The nonprofit was unsuccessful in that lawsuit.

As of Sept. 6, the day after the Oklahoma Department of Education announced its partnership with PragerU, the department was already including links to PragerU content on its social studies page.

One of the pages linked to, PragerU Kids’ main page, features not just videos on U.S. history, but also content with overt conservative and religious themes, including videos titled “Venezuela: Vivi’s Life Under Socialism,” “How to Embrace Your Femininity” and “Noah and the Rainbow.”

Some of the topics listed on PragerU Kids’ page are “Judeo-Christian Values” and “Big Government.” Walters, the state superintendent, said in the Department of Education news release that he is “thrilled” about the announcement.

“This expansion of our available resources will help ensure high quality materials rich in American history and values will be available to our teachers and students,” Walters said in the press release. “We will work together to find ways for PragerU to create content that will enrich the education of Oklahoma students.”

In an interview with PragerU CEO Marissa Streit shared on the nonprofit’s website, Walters said he hopes to make PragerU content available for “every school in the state of Oklahoma.”

Walters, a former history teacher, also said he used to use PragerU content for his classes.

“You’re actually telling history the way it was. The left for so long has controlled the narrative,” he said, responding to a question from Streit about his reaction to a New York Times “hit piece” about the nonprofit.

Oklahoma is not the only state to announce some sort of partnership with PragerU. Florida recently approved PragerU videos as curriculum for students in kindergarten through 6th grade.

PragerU content is also approved as supplementary material in Texas. New Hampshire was recently considering using the entity’s content, but put that discussion on hold.

“I can not be more excited to get this content into our classrooms, to get this understanding of American history without any indoctrination but actually the facts of what happened so that our kids can know the principles our country was founded on, and it’s just incredible content,” Walters said. “I cannot wait for our teachers to get a hold of it.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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