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A classroom with a black board at the front of the room. The word indoctrination is written across the image with a red line striking it out.

And Now More Biased Curriculum

#antiracistedu black lives matter classroom curriculum literacy resources Aug 09, 2023

If you're staying up with the news, then you know Florida is under fire with the indoctrination in education that the current state government is passing as law. Most recently, some content was approved to be used as optional in Florida schools. The content is from an uaccredited not for profit right wing 'edutainment' company called Prager U. They want to offer alternate ideas and ways of thinking since they believe that "left wing ideologies" have taken over society... 

"PragerU CEO Marissa Streit announced that Florida approved the nonprofit as an official vendor, allowing teachers to incorporate its educational entertainment videos, self-described as “edutainment,” as supplemental materials in classrooms." USA Today tells more of what's going on here

This blog isn't about the process that led to the fact that now teachers can use this content. (By the way, they could have used it before just like teachers can use most content out there, already. However, this makes for a juicer political stunt to say that now teachers can use this and not be fired.) Regardless, what we want to do is share HOW to use these materials, if you feel pressured to do so. 

There's one video that has been shared featuring Frederick Douglas talking to some modern-day kids Leo & Layla. They travel back in time to learn about abolition and the founding fathers. Check out the 7 minute video here. If you end up using this resource (again due to pressure or whatever), here's a way to do it: 


Start by watching the video with kids. Make observations about what the kids say and what Douglas says. Ask: Overall, what is the message the video conveys?


Next, walk students through a process of identifying the audience, the speaker(s), and the purpose. This is a rhetorical study of the video, which incorporates basic literacy and communication skills. This is why we say that anti racist skills are not mutually exclusive from content-based skills! 


Next, have students read some of Douglas's actual words. The good news is so much analysis exists because he's such an important historical figure. There is so much for you to pull from, videos included. Look at excerpts of his writing in The Library of Congress HERE. I would suggest looking at "My Bondage and My Freedom" toward pages 450 and beyond. Here, he speaks of the slave [political] party and some of the politics behind it all. Once you read these excerpts, have students return to the video. Ask: What differences do you notice between his words and his message in this video, if any? 


I would then have students sit in partners to process what they watched vs what they read. Some discussion questions could be:

  • How does it feel to see these differing points of view? 
  • Do you know people in your life that think like the folks in the video? 
  • What is new for you that you may have not considered before? 
  • What, if any challenges, do you feel watching this video? 

This is the part where we create space for their humanity. This isn't *just* an assignment- this is real life. They have to contend with these biases and ideologies in the real world. 

You can do this type of critical work with all of their content but also with other material across all subjects. As you can see, it's a lot of work. Incorrect and biased content makes it that way because we have to unpack and dissect it in order to do the critical work necessary. The academic burden falls on the student... and that's part of the larger issue here with indoctrination. THIS IS UNNECESSARY. That's how racism works, though. 

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