CONCORD, NH — Recent reporting has revealed that New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has allowed a vote this Thursday to decide whether PragerU content and courses can be used for New Hampshire high school graduation requirements.
PragerU — a far-right political non-profit, which is not an accredited educational institution and does not confer degrees — has come under fire in recent days for openly racist education content which is now being taught in Florida public schools.
In response, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement:
We condemn Frank Edelblut for even considering the introduction of Prager U — an overtly racist and anti-education political organization — into New Hampshire classrooms. This is an affront to the principles of unbiased education and another dangerous step by statewide Republicans towards politicizing the learning environment for New Hampshire children.
“This consideration reflects a profound misjudgment and a betrayal of our students' trust. It threatens to undermine the core values of our education system by allowing partisan interests to infiltrate the place where our children should be free to learn, grow, and form their own opinions. Our schools must be a sanctuary for critical thinking and intellectual growth, not a platform for political indoctrination.
“I urgently call on Governor Chris Sununu and the Republican candidates running for Governor to reject this proposal and protect the integrity of New Hampshire's schools. We must not allow our classrooms to be tainted by toxic political influences. Our children's education and New Hampshire’s future and reputation depend on our ability to protect these essential institutions from the creeping intrusion of partisan politics."
The program has come under fire for what some call its misleading views on climate change, slavery and racism, immigration, history of fascism and its anti-LGBTQ bent. On its website, PragerU Kids says it teaches “American Values” while “Woke agendas are infiltrating classrooms, culture and social media.”
Former House Education Committee Chair, Rep. David Luneau, D-Hopkinton, said a report last fall noted the Learn Everywhere Program has few kids taking advantage of it, but that has not stopped Commissioner Frank Edelblut from bringing more programs onto it. “But Prager goes beyond questionable,” Luneau said, “and some argued its right along the road to fascism.
The application, on the agenda for the Thursday meeting of the state Board of Education, says students could get the required half-credit for financial literacy by watching 15 videos, each about 5 minutes long, that comprise what it calls its Crash Course. The videos are free and their use is self-directed.
Founded by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager in 2009, it is best known for five-minute videos with titles like “Make Men Masculine Again,” “Healthcare Is Not a Right” and “The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party,” as well as videos that question the reality of climate change and the role of slavery in the Civil War.
Orlando Sentinel: PragerU videos teach Florida students that slavery wasn’t so bad
The Florida Department of Education’s embrace of Prager’s controversial classroom offerings, especially the sanitized reassessment of slavery, coincides with the adoption of controversial new middle school history standards that, among other offensive takes, inform students that “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
The non-profit organization, which has previously faced controversy over host comments on the n-word and the Holocaust, provides educational content to public and private schools. Last week, it was approved as an official vendor by the Florida Department of Education.