That ‘PragerU in Schools’ Press Release is an Obvious Publicity Stunt

On July 24 2023 several Twitter accounts tweeted about “PragerU in schools,” citing a press release issued in relation to right-wing disinformation purveyor Dennis Prager’s foray into the educational system:

All three articles depicted and/or linked to a Miami New Times article about the press release. On Reddit, references to PragerU’s press release appeared on r/politics, r/atheism, and r/florida:

Fact Check

Claim: Schools are adopting Dennis Prager’s social media content brand PragerU as of July 2023.

Description: The claim suggests that schools across America will be integrating PragerU’s conservative-leaning videos in their curriculum starting July 2023.

Rating: Not True

Rating Explanation: The claim lacks concrete supporting evidence. It relies heavily on the use of unspecified plurals such as ‘schools’ and ‘states’. Notably, PragerU itself stated that the material’s adoption would be ‘up to teachers’. The Florida Department of Education confirmed that PragerU’s content was consistent with Florida’s standards, implying that the specific use of the materials is up to each school district. It seems that the claim is part of a marketing effort by PragerU.

Two of the posts linked to an article by The Daily Beast, and one linked to Miami New Times. “Prager U” was not defined in any of the posts; for those unfamiliar with it, Wikipedia provided a comprehensive summary of the confusingly named initiative:

PragerU (initialism for Prager University, and short for Prager University Foundation) is an American advocacy group and media organization that creates content promoting conservative viewpoints on various political, economic, and sociological topics. It was co-founded in 2009 by Allen Estrin and talk show host Dennis Prager.

Despite the group’s name being an initialism for Prager University, it is not an academic institution and does not confer degrees. PragerU’s videos contain content widely considered to be misleading or false in promoting climate change denial. Historians and political scientists have also criticized PragerU’s videos for containing misleading or inaccurate claims about topics such as slavery and racism in the United States, immigration, and the history of fascism. PragerU has also been accused of promoting anti-LGBTQ politics.

A section of that entry was titled “School program,” and it linked to an archived April 2015 Rewire.News article, “Fracking Titans Spend Millions Proselytizing School Children.” A subheading read:

Conservative radio host Dennis Prager’s eponymous website seeks to insert religious and political right-wing propaganda directly into schools, and he has the generous backing of two of the richest men in the United States—Dan and Farris Wilks.

The reporting examined PragerU’s funding, quoting a legal expert on whether the organization’s content was legally appropriate in a classroom setting:

In recent years, the religious right has worked assiduously to erode the separation of church and state that has traditionally been a cornerstone of American society. [2014]’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby is perhaps the most high-profile example of this effort … But Prager University is noteworthy in two respects: the program seeks to insert right-wing religious and political propaganda into schools by providing content directly to teachers and students; and it has the generous backing of two of the richest men in the United States.

Prager University’s largest donors, Dan and Farris Wilks, have spent the last few years using the fortune they made from the fracking boom to fund extreme right-wing causes.


Prager University declined to respond to Rewire‘s questions for this article, saying that this is “a very busy time for us and due to time constraints we won’t be able to fulfill your request.”

PragerU could be encouraging schools to violate the U.S. Constitution, David B. Cruz, professor of law at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, told Rewire.

“The basic constitutional principle is that public schools may teach about religion, but they may not teach religion,” Cruz said.

“If a school assigns (or gives credit for watching) multiple videos with explicit Christian content, even if there’s secular content too, that could lead a court to conclude it has violated the Establishment Clause. Even assigning or giving credit for watching a single video conveying a message that a student watching it should accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, whatever secular content it may also have, would almost certainly be held unconstitutional by a court if the school were sued.”

Later in the piece, Rewire touched on aggressive marketing efforts by PragerU in 2014 and 2015:

This past year [2014 and 2015], PragerU embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign to bring more attention to its website. The website uses social media and advertises each new course through YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. According to its own metrics, the site accumulated over 24 million unique video views last year. The number was 1.6 million in 2013. But social media isn’t the only way PragerU is acquiring more viewers and students.

At the time of publication, attempted to validate PragerU’s claims about participating schools. It appeared as if PragerU had exaggerated its popularity at the time:

So far, more than 3,000 educators have signed up for the Educator Program, with another 200 educators enrolled in the Academic Partnership Program. While Prager University doesn’t have a public listing of those enrolled in the Educator Program, it does provide a list of schools and classes participating in its Academic Partnership program. The majority of the schools listed appear to be private Christian schools or home school programs. Out of the 200 schools listed, Rewire was able to identify 14 public schools, from elementary through high school. It is unclear how many of the 3,000 educators using the Educator Program are from public schools.

To learn about their involvement with the program, Rewire attempted to reach out to the public school teachers who were listed as participating educators. Of the two that actually responded, each claimed they hadn’t signed their students up for the program and only used the videos sparingly to garner debate. The remaining teachers listed as participants did not respond to Rewire’s requests for interviews.

On July 25 2023, @prageru shared a video-based advertisement on Twitter, alongside four promotional retweets amplifying a single tweet critical of PragerU’s press blitz:

In a separate July 25 2023 tweet, PragerU promoted a petition about its “school curriculum” press release:

A Google search for some of the text of the press release did not return any links to the document, and PragerU’s “press releases” section was most recently updated in August 2022. A July 25 2023 article provided a partial excerpt of the press release, citing it as a source:

… An unaccredited conservative non-profit organization known for its anti-immigration theories and downplaying of systemic racism has been approved to provide classroom materials to Florida schools.

PragerU, founded by radio host Dennis Prager, sent out a news release Monday [July 24 2023] saying Florida is the first state to allow its K-12 lessons, which it aims to get into as many states as possible.

“Thousands of American teachers and school board members have contacted PragerU desperate for wholesome, quality, engaging resources to help educate their students,” the release stated. “They are sick and tired of curriculum laced with radical political agendas — from Critical Race Theory and gender fluidity to overt anti-Americanism.”

On July 24 2023, a debunker posted an image of the PragerU press release to Twitter:

PragerU’s press release (or part of it) leaned heavily on unspecified plurals — “states,” “students,” “educators” — but included nothing in the way of specifics such as which states, how many classrooms, or even any sort of evidence the claim that “schools across America” decided en masse to adopt social media contact in lieu of curriculum:

PragerU in Schools across America

Press Release: JDA Worldwide for PragerU
July 24 2023

LOS ANGELES — This fall [of 2023] in schools across America, students will be watching PragerU videos in their classrooms as states [plural] officially make PragerU an approved educational resource.

Florida was the first state to officially approve PragerU as an educational vendor. More states are coming on board, encouraging educators to share PragerU’s educational videos and study guides with their students. In the past, teachers have been disciplined — even fired — for showing PragerU videos in their classrooms. Now, PragerU videos are not only being allowed in classrooms but superintendents and education commissioners are actively encouraging teachers to use PragerU’s content to educate their students.

The Daily Beast’s widely shared article was likely the most detailed reporting on PragerU’s marketing to schools, and it too was light on confirming details. With respect to “schools,” the piece (“PragerU Says Florida Teachers Approved to Use Its Class ‘Curriculum’”) affirmed only that the Florida Department of Education had indicated the materials were approved at the discretion of districts:

A PragerU spokesperson told The Daily Beast it will be “up to teachers” to decide whether they use its “supplemental curriculum” in their classroom. The non-profit says Florida is the first state to approve the content, but they’re pushing for other states to join by the fall [of 2023].

The Florida Department of Education told The Daily Beast in an email that it determined PragerU Kids’ material “aligns to Florida’s revised civics and government standards” and can be used by school districts at their discretion.

The oldest PragerU mention we located for their “PragerU in schools” campaign was a July 20 2023 video on PragerU’s website, “A Message from Our CEO: PragerU Is Now in Schools.” As of July 25 2023, the video had been viewed a total of 394 times — hardly a ringing endorsement or evidence of widespread demand for or interest in “PragerU in schools.”

A short, contradictory description for the video asserted that PragerU both sought signatures for a petition to “get PragerU in schools,” and that the content was already being used as a resource “schools across the country”:

A Message from Our CEO: PragerU Is Now in Schools
Marissa Streit PragerU Jul 20, 2023 394 [views]

PragerU CEO Marissa Streit has a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT that could change education in America! This fall in schools across the country, students will be watching PragerU videos in their classrooms as states officially make PragerU an approved educational resource. Sign the petition to get PragerU in schools across America.

An undated petition, (“Tell America You Want PragerU in Schools!”) was linked at the bottom of the description, and it diverged from most online petitions in that it did not display a signature counter. In fact, “signing” the petition simply led to a page asking for money:

prageru schools florida


prageru florida schools

To recap, “PragerU in schools” appeared to be a marketing campaign pitched to news outlets in late July 2023. On July 20 2023, PragerU published a video requesting signatures for a “petition to get PragerU in schools,” before the organization appeared to make a second push to news outlets. PragerU’s “petition” was a gateway to a donations page, and the only evidence PragerU content was “approved” for schools was a Florida Department of Education email response weakly affirming that PragerU videos can potentially be used by school districts “at their discretion.”