What it Means for Texans and Their Families.
At the center of that controversy is board member Julie Pickren – yes, the same Julie Pickren who participated in the January 6 United States Capitol attack pushing for the overturn of the presidential election results. Pickren is known for having a lot of political conspiracy theories and voicing them, as the Texas Observer originally reported.
Now, Pickren wants to violate the freedom of Texas students and spread misinformation to young minds by bringing in the ultra-rightwing PragerU into Texas public schools.
In a video that currently lives on the PragerU website, Pickren claims that PragerU is a welcomed vendor to the school districts in Texas. Yet, this announcement came before the State Board had even met as is the procedure for new vendors. It also came before the public had an opportunity to address the members — who are elected officials — about the use of this controversial organization’s materials in our public schools.
While we’ve seen far-right board members attempt to deny our children an honest, accurate education to serve their own political agenda many times, it is a new low for a board member to blatantly lie, and then have an organization lie on their behalf.
Frankly, this vendor’s materials are pure political propaganda that has no place in our schools. PragerU is not an educational entity with backing from scholars or licensed educators, but instead a media company that creates and promotes content from conservative viewpoints on political, economic, and social issues. It’s not surprising, as conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager is one of the founders.
PragerU has twisted the words of Frederick Douglas, making disgusting claims that slavery was a compromise — and that’s just one example of the negligent misinformation this vendor pushes. In a PragerU video called “The Top 5 Issues Facing Black Americans,” the speaker lists out what they believe to be problems for Black Americans. At the start of the video, we hear, “Problem number five: the victim mentality. Nothing holds someone back more than seeing himself as a victim. Why? Because a victim is not responsible for his situation. Everything is someone else’s fault. And the victim sees little chance of improving his life. How can he get ahead if someone is holding him back? All this makes the victim unhappy, frustrated, and angry. This is how too many Blacks see themselves — as victims. So much so that their victim status becomes their primary identity and their ruling ideology.”
Other types of videos from PragerU include content around “Debating a Leftist Student on Right-wing Bigotry,” “How to Embrace Your Femininity,” and “Los Angeles, Mateo Backs the Blue.” These topics do not further knowledge of basics like math, science, and reading, but instead push one type of ideology and bring a specific political narrative into schools to mold young minds to mirror their own.
PragerU is not covering an honest, accurate, truth of American history or any lesson. They’re pushing propaganda to kids in an effort to control their way of thinking. This is all very alarming, but the key fact to remember is that, regardless of what Pickren thinks of the process, PragerU is not yet approved as a Texas school vendor.
The best thing for Texas students is for you to be as informed as possible. Informed about local school district policies, the actions of SBOE members, and to be involved every step of the way. Texas public schools represent children from all backgrounds, and our curriculums should tell the truth about our history.
TFN will be documenting the actions at the SBOE around PragerU. For updates and alerts, sign up to receive our Teach the Truth notifications.