Videos From Right-Wing Site That Preaches ‘The Left Ruins Everything’ Assigned In Ohio School

An Ohio public college has been giving college students additional credit score for watching movies from PragerU, a right-wing web site that produces clips of speaking heads resembling Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro discussing conservative viewpoints, HuffPost has realized.

The PragerU movies — with titles resembling “Build the Wall,” “Why the Right Was Right” and “The Left Ruins Everything” — had been assigned to a Tenth-grade historical past class at Maumee High School, together with a collection of questions in regards to the movies’ “most important messages.”

The project got here on the similar time that the web site has tried to achieve additional affect in Ok-12 school rooms. Earlier this month, the group launched a program straight aimed toward mother and father and educators, full with examine guides with sections resembling “Conservatives Are the Real Environmentalists” and “The Ferguson Lie,” primarily based on a HuffPost evaluate of the supplies. 

Andrea Cutway, the mom of 16-year-old pupil Avery Lewis, introduced the project to the eye of Maumee City Schools directors and instantly pulled her daughter out of the category. Maumee is about 10 miles southwest of Toledo.

Administrators first tried what they deemed a compromise by additionally assigning work that mirrored views from the opposite facet of the political spectrum to the scholar, Cutway mentioned. But after HuffPost reached out to the varsity in regards to the project, it determined to take away the supplies from the syllabus, Todd Cramer, superintendent of Maumee City Schools, instructed HuffPost. 

Other PragerU movies on its web site dissect points in five-minute clips and have titles resembling “There Is No Gender Wage Gap,” “How to Steal an Election: Mail-In Ballots,” and “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”

The instructor’s class web site exhibits that she additionally assigned the movies final 12 months.

The homework project appeared unrelated to PragerU’s newest enterprise, referred to as PragerU Educators and Parents, or PREP, which launched a number of weeks in the past. The inception of such a program advised that most of these assignments might grow to be extra prevalent in faculties.

Already, “2,000 parents and educators have already signed up for PREP,” Craig Strazzeri, chief advertising and marketing officer of PragerU, mentioned in an e-mail to HuffPost.

“We constantly hear from educators and teachers who use our videos in the classroom,” Strazzeri mentioned. He declined to reveal what number of public college academics particularly joined the brand new program. “Ideally, every school in America would show PragerU videos in the classroom on a regular basis to help educate the next generation.”

PragerU began the PREP program in response to COVID-19-related college shutdowns, which “forced us to take a closer look at what is being taught and not taught across the country,” mentioned Adrienne Johnson, PragerU’s chief of employees and lead of the PREP platform, in a video interview with conservative information 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.” 

In latest weeks, President Donald Trump focused The 1619 Project, an initiative of The New York Times Magazine, which elevates the significance of the primary 12 months enslaved Africans arrived in America and reexamines American historical past with that 12 months in thoughts. Schools across the nation are instructing a curriculum primarily based on the challenge, which received a Pulitzer Prize final 12 months.

Lewis was instantly alarmed when she began her additional credit score project final week. The project requested her to observe PragerU movies after which reply questions on how the movies challenged her beliefs. She had hoped to make use of the project to tack on a couple of additional factors to her grade after taking a take a look at on which she suspected she carried out poorly, however after seeing the movies, the teenager didn’t suppose she might full the homework. 

Cutway, Lewis’ mom, was equally shocked when her daughter confirmed her the project. She instantly fired off an e-mail to the varsity’s principal asking who accredited the project and whether or not or not college students had been given any context for PragerU’s standpoint.

“It’s ALT RIGHT propaganda,” Cutway mentioned within the e-mail to the varsity principal, which she supplied to HuffPost. “If you Google PragerU and spend a few minutes scrolling, you will see that this site is controversial at best.”  

Avery Lewis (left) was assigned PragerU movies for additional credit score in school. Her mother, Andrea Cutway (proper), instantly complained.

Cutway’s concern was much less for her daughter, whom she sees as politically savvy sufficient to acknowledge that the location’s movies had been one-sided. But she anxious about different college students, who could also be studying about a few of these points for the primary time and assume the movies are presenting info fairly than opinions. She instantly pulled her daughter from the category.

Lewis met with college directors quickly after to debate the difficulty. Together, they got here up with an answer ― that the instructor would additionally assign her viewpoints from the other facet, Cutway mentioned.

For Cutway, although, this ignored the bigger challenge ― that PragerU movies be assigned in any respect and that faculty directors didn’t see an issue. She had a cellphone assembly with the directors, which she discovered equally disconcerting. 

“When I talked to the principal and vice principal, they acted like this was just another assignment,” mentioned Cutway, who works as a juvenile parole officer for the state. “I said, ‘I think at this time we need to end this call, gentlemen.’ … I don’t know what you have allowed to bring into your public school.”

“This really is some scary stuff,” Cutway mentioned of PragerU. “I do feel like they have found a way to get into the public school system.”

The instructor who assigned the movies didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Since Cutway’s dialog with the varsity directors, district leaders appeared to have had a change of coronary heart and mentioned they eliminated the project from the syllabus, although they stopped in need of condemning the general use of such supplies. 

We believe that students deserve a balanced presentation of content,” district Superintendent Cramer mentioned when requested if the varsity condoned use of PragerU supplies. “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.”

The incident, he mentioned, “has also led to internal conversations focused on ensuring we are presenting content through a variety of balanced materials.”

Cutway was particularly involved for the way the varsity project might have made immigrant college students or LGBTQ individuals really feel, she mentioned.

PragerU is not any stranger to controversy. In 2017, the group sued YouTube after the location flagged a few of its movies as “inappropriate,” alleging that such a transfer amounted to censorship and violated the First Amendment. A federal court docket dominated {that a} non-public agency resembling YouTube wasn’t certain by the First Amendment on this case.

The PREP program examine information quizzes college students with true-false questions resembling “nearly all the major 19th- and 20th- century breakthroughs in health care were made by Western Europeans and North Americans.” (The examine information says the reply is true.) Another true-false query asks college students to guage the next assertion: “Big Tech with its control of search algorithms, its shadowbanning, and deboosting supports political correctness and the resulting limitations of freedom.” 

In the OANN interview, Johnson mentioned this system has signed up “so many” educators. 

“Seeing what they’re saying when they join the discussion forum, these are people who value children, value children’s education, and they are just heartbroken by what they see happening in schools and the leftist indoctrination. This is a place where they can come and fight against that,” she mentioned. 


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