Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is facing a barrage of criticism following his administration’s formal approval of far-right PragerU videos for use as educational materials in the state’s K-12 schools.
Distortion of American History
While the initial outrage focused on the videos’ distortion of American history and whitewashing of slavery, a new dimension of concern has emerged—PragerU’s dissemination of false claims about climate science, as reported by Scientific American.
Combating ‘Climate Hysteria’
PragerU CEO Marissa Streit defended the use of these videos, arguing that they aim to counterbalance what she referred to as “climate hysteria” that young students are allegedly being exposed to.
A Need for a Healthy Balance
Streit emphasized the need for a “healthy balance” in teaching about climate change.
Under Fire for Presenting Misleading Information
These videos come under scrutiny for presenting misleading information, particularly concerning the role of carbon emissions in the current climate crisis.
One Character Is Worried About Climate Change
One of PragerU’s videos features a character named Ania, a concerned teenager worried about climate change.
The Videos Makes Hasty Claims
The video attempts to alleviate her fears by asserting that climate fluctuations have occurred throughout history, long before carbon emissions became a significant factor.
It Doesn’t Fully Address Carbon Emissions
While this statement is factually accurate, it is contextually irrelevant to the pressing issue of carbon emissions contributing to global warming and environmental degradation.
Solar and Wind Energy Are Harmful
Other PragerU videos take a critical stance on wind and solar energy, labeling them as harmful to the environment and unreliable.
Climate Activists Are Like Nazis
Shockingly, some of these videos even draw inappropriate comparisons, such as likening climate activists to Nazis.
A Disturbing Comparison
In one instance, a Holocaust survivor’s experience is juxtaposed with Ania being criticized by her teacher and classmates for echoing PragerU’s talking points.
Florida Is Suffering Environmental Challenges
This controversy unfolds against the backdrop of Florida grappling with severe environmental challenges, many of which have been exacerbated by human-driven emissions.
People Are Concerned With Florida’s Livability
The state has endured devastating hurricanes and scorching heat waves, leading to significant displacement of residents and prompting concerns about the sustainability of the region.
Home Insurance Is Less Common
Home insurance companies are retreating from the state, leaving residents to contend with limited options and soaring rates due to the elevated risk of ongoing disasters.
People View It as Propaganda
Critics have long argued that PragerU is not a genuine educational institution but rather a media company disseminating right-wing perspectives, often viewed as propaganda.
Teachers Have Been Using These Videos
Despite the debate surrounding the content’s accuracy and appropriateness, the use of PragerU videos in educational settings is not unique to Florida.
Teachers across the country have reportedly integrated these videos into their classrooms for years.
The Governor Is at the Center of the Mess
Governor Ron DeSantis, who is actively pursuing the GOP presidential nomination for the 2024 election, finds himself entangled in this contentious issue.
He’s Already Faced Backlash
This controversy adds to the criticism he has already faced over a task force he appointed, which formulated controversial statewide Black history guidelines.
His Guidelines Downplay Slavery
These guidelines have sparked outrage for downplaying the gravity of slavery and characterizing Martin Luther King-style civil disobedience as “irresponsible citizenship.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Aaron of L.A. Photography. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.
Source: Scientific American