Fact Check

Did Florida Education Dept. Approve Climate-Denial Content Comparing Climate Science to Nazism?

The Department “determined the material” from PragerU Kids “aligns to Florida’s revised civics and government standards.”

Published Aug. 10, 2023

Image courtesy of PragerU
The Florida state Department of Education approved content that denies or minimizes the reality of anthropogenic climate change and compares climate science to Nazism as an optional supplement to the state's social studies curriculum.

On July 24, 2023, Marissa Streit, the CEO of the nonprofit conservative activist group PragerU, announced that the group's "PragerU Kids" content had been approved as a source of supplemental educational materials in Florida schools. In a statement to Tampa, Florida's, CBS affiliate two days later, the Florida Department of Education confirmed this fact:

Cassandra Palelis, deputy director of communications for the state education department, told The News Service of Florida that the PragerU content has been approved for use as supplemental teaching materials. 

"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 at district discretion[...]."

PragerU is a nonprofit that, it says, provides "a free alternative to the dominant left-wing ideology in culture, media, and education." Founded by radio host Dennis Prager, the organization has been criticized for publishing inaccurate and inflammatory claims about history, race, and science.

Heavily funded by donors who made billions in the oil industry, content created for PragerU Kids sometimes aggressively discounts the reality of climate change and demonizes those who discuss it, as reported by Slate:

Experts who have studied the videos and other PragerU output have warned that many of Florida's 3 million public schoolchildren risk being exposed to a form of rightwing indoctrination that conforms to the worldview of the organization's funders but bares little resemblance to reality.

"These videos target very young and impressionable kids with messages of support for fossil fuels and doubts over renewable energy resources – they are trying to grow the next generation of supporters for fossil fuels," said Adrienne McCarthy, a researcher at Kansas State University who has studied the activities of PragerU.

One commonly cited PragerU Kids example that denies the severity of climate change also, in effect, compares individuals who promote climate change science to Nazis. 

That video, posted on July 20, 2023, describes the life of a Polish girl named Ania who, after publicly doubting the severity of anthropogenic climate change and the wisdom in transitioning to alternative fuels, loses friends and is treated poorly by teachers. Her older relatives, survivors of Communism and Nazism, praise her and compare her struggle to theirs:

Losing friends has been hard for Ania, but her family is proud of her for telling the truth. Timon, Klara and Grandfather Yakob are encouraging Ania by sharing their own stories of perseverance. 

Timon remembers having to meet people late at night in a freezing cellar to avoid the communist authorities, but that didn't stop him from sharing his ideas. 

Grandfather Yakob tells her about the Warsaw uprising when the city's Jews fought back against the Nazis. [He] remembers helping smuggle food, blankets, and even ammunition to the Jewish resistance fighters through sewer tunnels. 

Through her family's stories, Ania is realizing that fighting oppression is risky and that it always takes courage. 

The video, categorized as a "Global Issues" and "Honest" lesson, could now be approved for use as a supplement to Florida's revised social studies standards — an initiative pushed heavily by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The move does not make PragerU content a required part of any curriculum, however. 

The approval merely places the content — 5- to 10-minute videos about history and politics — on a list of approved vendors various school districts can use, if they choose, to supplement their K-12 social studies material, as described by the Miami Herald:

The Florida Department of Education determined that educational materials geared toward young children and high school students created by PragerU, a nonprofit co-founded by conservative radio host Dennis Prager, was in alignment with the state's standards on how to teach civics and government to K-12 students.

It is unclear if any districts have actual plans or a desire to use the PragerU Kids material, according to the Herald. PragerU's Streit says the group has plans to gain similar approval in other states across the nation.

Because Florida did approve material by PragerU Kids that denies the severity of anthropogenic climate change, and because at least one of these videos suggests that those who promote climate science are comparable to the Nazis who operated the Warsaw Ghetto, we rate this claim as "True." 


About Us | PragerU. https://www.prageru.com/about. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

Ceballos , Ana. "Indoctrination in Florida Schools? PragerU's Conservative Content Aims to Change Minds." Miami Herald, 9 Aug. 2023, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article277741678.html.

"Florida Approves Use of Conservative Content from 'Prager U' in Schools." Wtsp.Com, 11 July 2023, https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/education/florida-approves-prager-u-conservative-content-schools/67-f147ab5e-61a8-44f6-a797-7e248ec29eaf.

Milman, Oliver. "Videos Denying Climate Science Approved by Florida as State Curriculum." The Guardian, 10 Aug. 2023. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/aug/10/florida-ron-desantis-climate-vidoes-school-curriculum.

Olmstead, Molly. "The Quasi–White Nationalist Content Coming to Florida's Public Schools." Slate, 31 July 2023. slate.com, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2023/07/prageru-florida-schools-extreme-education.html.

Parent Alert: PragerU Kids Is Now Approved Curriculum in Florida Schools | PragerU. 20 July 2023, https://www.prageru.com/video/parent-alert-prageru-kids-is-now-approved-curriculum-in-florida-schools.

Poland: Ania's Energy Crisis. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pneZc2_YCHw. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.