Don’t let the “U” fool you. When you see a capital “U” you might think of FSU or other higher education institutions using it as an abbreviation for “University.” PragerU is no university although it develops “educational” materials.
What kind of educational materials?
Well, to understand this we’d better look at the “Prager” part of the name. It comes from Dennis Prager who is a conservative radio talk show host and a writer. He touts his stands in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act targeting the LGBTQ community and opposition to the Affordable Care Act and Covid restrictions.
He is one of the founders of PragerU. So we have a conservative founding an organization whose name includes a “U” which reminds us of the word “University.” It’s enough to make you scared. And it should.
Because this “educational” institution is interested in changing minds, especially kids’ minds. How? By creating five-minute videos in order to be a “force of good” against leftist ideology. Some of the videos are narrated by such luminaries as Tucker Carlson.
For example, one attempts to instruct on the climate by saying climate change is not the crisis; rather “energy” poverty” is. Whatever that means. Another shows flaws in the Canadian government run health system. Yet another supports law enforcement and rejects Black Lives Matter. Some even suggest that the students’ teachers are misinformed or, get this, lying! Christopher Columbus is heard to say slavery is “no big deal…being taken as a slave is better than being killed.” Like those are the only options.
Videos are age related from cartoonish ones for young children to ones on civics for older kids.
Prager talked about this program. Where? Oh, to a conference for Moms for Liberty. That should give further insight into what it’s all about.
When asked if he wasn’t trying to indoctrinate people, Prager responded, I suspect with pride, “It’s true we bring doctrines to children. But what is the bad about our indoctrination?”
Does PragerU form a threat to our educational system in Florida? You wouldn’t think so. After all, Governor Ron DeSantis has made it clear that discussions in Florida classrooms must not try to persuade students to accept a specific viewpoint. And he’s enforcing it through tough measures. Especially if we are talking about sexual orientation, Black history, and a host of other views he has determined to be “woke.”
So surely we can rest assured that DeSantis will just as diligently protect us and our children from the rightward thrust of PragerU whose goal is to persuade students to accept a specific viewpoint.
But then why did the Florida Department of Education, which kneels at DeSantis’s feet, review the material and then decide it fits in very nicely with the recently revised Florida civics and government standards. In fact, the Department felt it meshed so well that they had no trouble approving the videos and other matter as supplemental educational material for school districts.
Now, as I understand it, it’s not mandated for use. At least not yet. In fact, it’s supposed to be up to teachers to decide if they want to use it. Unless, of course, their districts enforce it. Or the state does what it has done so often and requires it’s use. Let’s hope teachers will spurn it as long as they can. If they are good teachers, they will.
I suggest that in the future we further simplify the reference to this organization by using the acronym PU.
Or, for ease in pronunciation, PEW!
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Much of the information contained above appeared in a lengthy front-page article of the Orlando Sentinel on August 1, 2023.