Right-Wing SBOE Member Julie Pickren Attempts to Politicize Texas Classrooms Through Announcement with Controversial Vendor PragerU

August 22, 2023

CONTACT: Emily Witt, [email protected]

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas State Board of Education member Julie Pickren yesterday claimed in a video that materials from PragerU, a controversial vendor already introduced in Florida public schools, will soon be available in Texas schools.

While a statement from PragerU also claims this, members of the Board have not yet met to discuss the adoption of educational materials, nor have parents, students, or educators had the opportunity to testify publicly on the matter, as is routine for such adoptions.

The State Board of Education (SBOE) will hold a meeting next week where they will discuss several items, including the adoption of science textbooks and the implementation of HB 1605. The legislation does not go into effect until September 1, and it allows districts to use standardized instructional materials in classrooms called “open educational resources.”

Texas Freedom Network Senior Political Director Carisa Lopez (she/her) issued the following response​:

“It is unconscionable that Pickren, a right-wing idealogue who was present at the January 6th insurrection, would make unsubstantiated claims that our schools will now be using materials from PragerU — a deeply conservative organization — before the SBOE has even met. This vendor’s materials blatantly embrace the radical right’s agenda — with lessons that lie about fossil fuels’ contribution to climate change, tell little girls they should ‘embrace being a wife and a mother,’ and ‘be positive and smile’ – because ‘one of the most beautiful things god has created is a woman’s smile,’ and whitewash history by depicting Frederick Douglas as saying slavery was ‘a compromise’ while admonishing movements to remedy systemic oppression today.

“These incendiary materials violate the religious freedom of Texas students and spread misinformation to young minds. Our kids deserve to be taught the truth about history and climate change, and Board members should serve our children, not their own radical political agenda.”