Students at an Ohio school have received extra credit for watching videos from a right-wing website that features clips of conservative pundits like Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro, according to a report.
Maumee High School sophomores were assigned PragerU videos with titles like “Build the Wall,” “Why the Right Was Right” and “The Left Ruins Everything,” HuffPost reported.
The history class students also were given a series of questions about the videos’ “most important messages.”
PragerU – short for Prager University but is a media company — earlier this month launched a program aimed at parents and teachers that includes study guides with sections such as “Conservatives Are the Real Environmentalists” and “The Ferguson Lie,” according to HuffPost.
Andrea Cutway, the mother of a 16-year-old student, informed school administrators about the assignment and immediately pulled her daughter out of the class.
“It’s ALT RIGHT propaganda,” Cutway wrote in an email to the principal that she provided to HuffPost. “If you Google PragerU and spend a few minutes scrolling, you will see that this site is controversial at best.”
School officials first tried what they considered to be a compromise by also assigning work that reflected views from the left, she said.
But after HuffPost questioned the school — about 10 miles southwest from Toldeo — about the assignment, it yanked the materials from the syllabus, Superintended Todd Cramer told the outlet.
Other PragerU videos on its website have titles such as “There Is No Gender Wage Gap,” “How to Steal an Election: Mail-In Ballots,” and “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”
The assignment appeared unrelated to PragerU’s latest effort, called PragerU Educators and Parents, or PREP, according to HuffPost.
Already, “2,000 parents and educators have already signed up for PREP,” PragerU chief marketing officer Craig Strazzeri told the outlet in an email.
“We constantly hear from educators and teachers who use our videos in the classroom,” said Strazzeri, who declined to disclose how many public school teachers joined the new program.
“Ideally, every school in America would show PragerU videos in the classroom on a regular basis to help educate the next generation,” he added.
School district officials who said they removed the assignment from the syllabus stopped short of condemning the overall use of such materials.
“We believe that students deserve a balanced presentation of content,” Cramer said when asked if the school condoned the use of PragerU materials.
“We support our educators in using a variety of instructional tools and materials. We expect our educators to exercise good judgment and trust our students, parents and community to engage our staff in conversations about our instructional methods and the materials being used if they feel the need to do so,” he added.
PragerU launched PREP in response to coronavirus-related school shutdowns, which “forced us to take a closer look at what is being taught and not taught across the country,” Adrienne Johnson, the organization’s chief of staff, told conservative news channel One America News Network.
“America is not being fairly portrayed. Many schools are implementing anti-racist Black Lives Matter curriculum and The 1619 Project,” she said.
President Trump targeted The 1619 Project — a Pulitzer Prize-winning project by The New York Times that traces the history and legacy of slavery in the US – and has announced the creation of the 1776 Commission “to promote patriotic education.”
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