On the latest episode of Giving Ventures, DonorsTrust Vice President Peter Lipsett talks with Marissa Streit, CEO of PragerU, and Fred Fransen, CEO of Certell. The three talk about the need to create history and civics materials that are even-handed and rooted in historical accuracy. Tune in to discover how Streit and Fransen are preserving commonsense ideas through their educational materials.
‘We Are Aiming to Disrupt the Current Education System’
The folks at PragerU are challenging much of what’s being taught in American classrooms today — case in point: the forthcoming “Detrans: The Dangers of Gender-Affirming Care,” a documentary featuring the stories of young people manipulated and pressured into irreversible, harmful surgeries.
“The best way to understand what we’re doing here at PragerU is that we are aiming to disrupt the current education system that has failed America’s students and has failed Americans in general. It has actually succeeded in what it was aimed to do, which it to become a left-wing propaganda machine.”
Its website boasts PragerU content averages 5 million video views a day. The content is customized depending on the age group and includes content geared kindergarteners through college-age students and beyond, including a “Fireside Chat” series featuring founder Dennis Prager himself.
Schools ‘Have Been Teaching [Young Americans] to Hate America’
“So, as we’ve been looking at America’s education system and we are wondering ‘Why are young Americans unable to think critically and work hard and love their country?’ If you actually notice what we’ve been teaching young Americans—we’ve been teaching them to hate America.”
Consequently, the team at PragerU endeavors to counter liberal narratives—e.g., if you’re a biological male but feel like a woman, perhaps you shouldn’t lean in to that feeling, as public educators would have you do but instead should consider the implications of undergoing a serious, life-altering surgery.
PragerU is ‘Medicine for the Mind’
“So, we consider PragerU medicine for the mind and what we want to do is try to get this medicine out to as many people as possible so that we can save young American minds and we use the power of the internet—almost everybody in America has access to the internet…”
Medicine doesn’t always go down easily, however. In fact, YouTube in 2016 censored PragerU. To this day, the video-production nonprofit continues to battle censorship. More recently, NewsGuard — a so-called “fact-checking” site — accused PragerU of spreading misinformation. Click here to sign the petition in defense of PragerU.
Education is About These Four Things
While PragerU goes straight to the American consumer with its media-rich videos, the team at Certell equips teachers with media-rich curriculum materials they can give to their students. These materials then free up teachers to focus their classroom time on transmitting wisdom and helping students hone their critical-thinking skills.
“My educational philosophy is that education is about transmitting four things: knowledge, skills, wisdom and motivation. Only teachers can do motivation. But the thing about digital technology is it allows somebody other than the teacher to focus on transmitting knowledge and skills.”
These knowledge-rich curriculum materials, says Fred, enables teachers to focus on sharing their wisdom and on helping their students develop critical-thinking skills through group classroom discussion, projects, an interactive learning environment either in the classroom or through field trips.
“Our goal is to help teachers to not have to focus on teaching facts, because we’re doing that for them, and then they can use the classroom time for the thing that really only happens in a human environment in which teachers can focus on discussion, they can focus on project-based learning, they can make the classroom more interactive … because we’ve taken care of the facts.”
The Certell curriculum includes four comprehensive course packages in high-school social studies, including world history, geography, western civilization, American history, American government and economics, as most states require students to study these subjects in order to graduate.
Open a Giving Account
Are you interested in sharpening students critical-thinking skills and providing factual content to counter the prevailing messages American public-school students are being spoon-fed these days? If so, consider opening a charitable giving account so you can give to the causes you care about in a simple, secure, tax-advantaged way.