Louisiana Lawmakers Criticize Education Chief’s Alliance with Conservative Media Group

Louisiana Lawmakers Criticize Education Chief's Alliance with Conservative Media Group | Future Education Magazine


Louisiana’s political landscape is roiling as Democratic and Black lawmakers have voiced strong opposition to the state Department of Education’s collaboration with PragerU, a conservative nonprofit known for its controversial children’s videos. The Senate’s Democratic Caucus is gearing up to introduce a resolution condemning PragerU’s content, labeling it as containing “misleading or inaccurate claims” regarding historical events like slavery. Moreover, these lawmakers are urging state education officials to bar teachers from showcasing what they deem as “discriminatory” materials in classrooms. Members of the Legislative Black Caucus echoed these sentiments, expressing dismay over State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley’s decision to align with PragerU, whose content promotes what it terms as “pro-American values” while rejecting what it labels as “woke culture.”

Representative Edmond Jordan, chair of the Black Caucus, minced no words in his criticism, stating unequivocally, “Louisiana’s children deserve unbiased, fact-based education free of political agendas.” He accused Superintendent Brumley of betraying his duty to provide accurate historical narratives in favor of advancing the agenda of right-wing extremists.

Department of Education Defends Partnership

In a bid to justify the contentious partnership, Superintendent Brumley defended the collaboration with PragerU as a means to complement Louisiana’s new social studies standards, dubbed the “Freedom Framework.” Brumley emphasized that the intention behind the partnership was solely to furnish educators with additional resources to implement the curriculum effectively. In a video interview with PragerU’s CEO Marissa Streit, Brumley emphasized the compatibility of PragerU’s content with the state’s educational objectives.

The partnership announcement came alongside the release of a 96-page guide for educators, developed collaboratively between PragerU and Brumley’s team. This guide recommends specific PragerU videos aligned with the state standards, aiming to facilitate educators in delivering historical topics comprehensively. For instance, one suggested video delves into the era of Christopher Columbus, while another addresses the history of slavery in the United States.

Criticism Mounts Over Alleged Indoctrination Efforts

The collaboration between the Louisiana Department of Education and PragerU has ignited accusations of political indoctrination from Democratic lawmakers, who pointedly referred to Superintendent Brumley’s past assurances against such practices. They argue that by endorsing PragerU’s content, Brumley has reneged on his commitment to providing education free from ideological influence.

Particular ire has been directed towards the content recommended by PragerU, with critics highlighting segments featuring controversial figures such as Candace Owens. Owens’ assertions in PragerU’s videos have been cited as perpetuating divisive narratives about historical events and political affiliations.

As the debate rages on, Louisiana finds itself at a crossroads, with educational stakeholders grappling over the appropriate balance between academic freedom and ideological influence in the classroom. The controversy underscores broader societal tensions surrounding education, history, and the shaping of young minds in an increasingly polarized landscape.

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