The controversial PragerU school cartoons explained

The controversial PragerU school cartoons explained

The controversial PragerU school cartoons explained


After it was announced that right-wing organisation PragerU was partnering with the state of Florida to provide educational content, people have been sharing the organisation’s cartoons on social media in complete shock about what they’re teaching.

The cartoons, which are described by PragerU as “edu-tainment”, suggest that slavery was a “compromise”, Native Americans were “far-from peaceful”, BLM increased crime, as well as downplaying the impacts of slavery by saying that being a slave was better than being dead.

The move comes as Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has made a number of controversial moves in terms of education. DeSantis, who is running for president in 2024, has banned certain books, restricted the teaching of reproductive health and gender identity, and tried to block a high school’s AP African American studies course.

The clips circulating come from PragerU’s online series called ‘Leo and Layla’s History Adventures’, where two children - Leo and Layla - travel back in time to speak to various historical figures.

One clip shows Frederick Douglass, a prominent anti-slavery activist, calling slavery a “compromise” in order for the Founding Fathers to “get all thirteen colonies to unite as one country”. Later on in the clip, the BLM movement is hinted at after Douglass talks about William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist. In the clip Douglass tells Leo and Layla that they aren’t friends any longer because Garrison “refuses all compromises, demands immediate change, and if he doesn’t get what he wants, he likes to set things on fire.” In response, Leo and Layla tell Douglass “we’ve got that type in our time.”

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In reality, Garrison promoted non-violent methods of abolition, but had publicly burned a copy of the Constitution, calling it a “Covenant with Death, an Agreement with Hell”, referring to slavery being written into the Constitution. Douglass, took the view that the Constitution could be interpreted as anti-Slavery.

In another clip that went viral Leo and Layla travel back in time to meet Christopher Columbus. The episode focuses on Columbus Day, that now often referred to as Indigenous Peoples’ Day to acknowledge honour their history and culture, rather than celebrate Columbus.

Columbus tells the children that the Americas “wasn’t exactly a paradise of civilisation” and that the Natives were “far from peaceful” as well as calling certain tribes “cannibals”. When talking about slavery Columbus says “being taken as a slave is better than being killed, no?” But later says it’s “wonderful” that slavery is no longer the norm or viewed as the right thing, yet he tells Leo and Layla that they cannot judge him by the standards of the present day.

After the announcement of the partnering, many shared the material on social media, with one user calling the content “propaganda”:

And it seems Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, agrees:

Another calls the content “disgusting”:

“This level of indoctrination would make any fascist dictator proud”, writes one user:

Florida’s Department of Education said in a statement: “The Florida Department of Education reviewed PragerU Kids and determined the material aligns to Florida’s revised civics and government standards. PragerU Kids is no different than many other resources, which can be used as supplemental materials in Florida schools as district discretion.”

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