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‘We are in the mind-changing business’: Florida is using

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Gov. Ron DeSantis and his allies have been drawing widespread criticism from Democrats — and from some Black conservative Republicans as well — for the way in which the history of slavery is now being taught in Florida’s public schools. This curriculum teaches that slavery had a benefit for slaves in the Antebellum South during the 19th Century: They learned job skills.

DeSantis has accused public schools of trying to indoctrinate students with liberal/progressive ideas. But Florida’s new “educational” material for students, according to the Miami Herald’s Ana Ceballos, is coming from a source that has even described itself as a form of indoctrination: PragerU, founded by far-right radio host Dennis Prager.

“The content, some of which is narrated by conservative personalities such as Tucker Carlson and Candace Owens, features cartoons, five-minute video history lessons and story-time shows for young children,” Ceballos explains in an article published by the Herald in late July. “It is part of a brand called PragerU Kids. And the lessons share a common message: Being pro-American means aligning oneself to mainstream conservative talking points.”

READ MORE: ‘There‘s nothing worse’: Black GOP strategist whacks DeSantis’ slavery claims

Ceballos notes that in a promotional video for PragerU, Prager brags, “We are in the mind-changing business, and few groups can say that.” And when Prager spoke at the far-right group Moms For Liberty’s gathering in Philadelphia in July, he told attendees, “It’s true we bring doctrines to children, but what is the bad about our indoctrination?”

PragerU, Ceballos points out, is not an actual university but rather, is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that produces right-wing videos on a “range of themes,” including healthcare and climate policy. One of PragerU’s videos attacks Canada’s government-operated healthcare system and claims that the United States’ privatized system is superior, but critics of the U.S. system often point out how common medical bankruptcies are in the U.S.

Researcher Adrienne McCarthy, who co-authored a study on PragerU for Kansas State University researcher, told the Herald, “The videos have this very strong us-versus-them dichotomy, and it’s usually the evil, immoral leftists versus the moral Judeo-Christian right. They are attacking culture and trying to change rhetoric.”

READ MORE: Black conservatives ‘livid’ after DeSantis attacks Tim Scott for opposing slavery curriculum

Read the Miami Herald’s full report at this link (subscription required).

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