PragerU Resources Stir Classroom Controversy

Todays News

Screenshot courtesy PragerU

State groups are asking Sarasota School officials not to bring PragerU materials into classrooms. School Board Chair Bridget Ziegler said she doesn’t have a problem with the education supplements, but said parents should be able to opt of their children using the materials if they object.

The Florida Department of Education in July approved PragerU Kids videos to be used as an educational resource in state schools. Produced by conservative radio host Dennis Prager since 2009, the material quickly caused concern among those who see the items as conservative indoctrination. That includes the state and local chapters of the League of Women Voters.

“PragerU is not an accredited university and it publicly says the group is a ‘force of good’ against the left,” reads an open letter signed by League of Women Voters of

Sarasota County Shawn Bartlett, League of Women Voters of Florida President Cecile Scoon and League of Women Voters of Florida Education Action Chair Jill Lewis-Spector.

“Prager himself announced on July 20 that his company’s videos, produced by a division called PragerU Kids, created in 2021, will be a resource for Florida schools. This is the first time his company’s videos have been approved for use by any U.S. state.”

Several videos have prompted scrutiny on the goals of materials, most notably an animated history cartoon depicting abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The video starts with the children watching modern news reports about riots and demands to abolish police, then travel back and speak to Douglass about why many founding fathers owned slaves.

“Children, our founding fathers knew that slavery was wrong,” the cartoon Douglas says. “And they knew it would do terrible harm to the nation. They wanted it to end but their first priority was to get all 13 colonies to unite as one country.” When the children press on the topic, Douglass says, “I’m certainly not okay with slavery, but the Founding Fathers made a compromise to achieve something great, the making of the United States.”

League of Women Voters members say the materials violate Florida’s own restrictions against politically biased materials being used in schools. “How does PragerU Kids’ curriculum help our children adequately prepare for the world they are to inherit? It doesn’t,” the open letter reads.

Ziegler said she doesn’t find the PragerU materials she has seen to be objectionable. But she said parents who don’t like the material have the right to object.

“I support any material that covers the incredible founding of our country, reinforces the concept of American exceptionalism and helps students become productive and positive contributors to our community. From what I have seen, materials from PragerU do just that,” Ziegler said.

“I will add, as has always been my position — parents should have the opportunity to conveniently access and review any materials that are accessible to their child and have the ability to opt them out of any material they find objectionable for their child.”

The League letter says that approach will create a difficult situation for educators, and would rather the district reject the PragerU resources entirely.

“If a parent says no, the teacher must make other accommodations — accommodations that will be harder to make because the state has cut out a great deal of curriculum that was used in the past, creating a resource desert for teachers,” the letter states. “The LWV of Sarasota recommends that parents pay particular attention to this supplemental curriculum and if they do not want their children indoctrinated by PragerU’s unsubstantiated curriculum, insist on the opt-out provision.

Screenshot courtesy PragerU

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