Right-leaning PragerU takes root in NH public schools
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Educators in New Hampshire say the state's approval of a financial literacy course by conservative nonprofit PragerU spells trouble for public schools. PragerU describes itself as "an alternative to the left-wing ideology...in education." Its "Cash Course" requires students to watch a series of videos and pass a multiple-choice test for school credit.
Megan Tuttle, president of the National Education Association in New Hampshire, says the course lacks rigor and signals a watering down of the state's education standards.
"The educators that I've spoken with are not happy about this," she said. "It's just another way that they're trying to, basically, dismantle public education."
The financial course is part of the state's Learn Everywhere program, which offers students alternative and remote ways to earn credits. Proponents say the videos do not contain political content.
PragerU made headlines nationwide when Florida approved use of the company's social studies videos - some of which, critics say, defend slavery. Those videos have not been approved for use in New Hampshire, but State Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is convinced that all content providers have some degree of bias, including teachers.
"The criticism of Prager - that they hold beliefs that not everybody holds - would be consistent for every one of my educators, that they would hold beliefs that not every parent would necessarily hold as well," he claimed.
Edelblut added many people agree with PragerU's other content, and thinks it's important for students to have choices in learning.
Students won't view the financial videos on the PragerU website.
Sarah Robinson, a parent and education organizer with Granite State Progress, says the state has endorsed the company as a resource for students, signaling an opening for politically partisan content in education.
"Now that financial literacy is through the door, despite significant public outcry, what's to stop them from passing anything else?," she said.
Robinson added the State Board of Education is currently revising the state's minimum standards for curriculum in public schools.
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