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Ryan Walters seems to be eyeing new, controversial curriculum in Oklahoma schools that rewrites the American history of slavery.
According to a new report from KTUL, Walters is looking to the right-wing PragerU as a potential education vendor.
“We are actively looking to see how we bolster our US history and civics,” Walters said in a KTUL interview.
“”I have had conversations with PragerU to be able to do that.”
Walters also claimed that he works “very closely with the DeSantis administration on what they’re doing with education”.
The DeSantis administration remains at the center of a national firestorm for new education standards teaching students Black people “benefited” from slavery.
DeSantis staunchly defends those standards; even going so far as to attack Black Republicans, like Congressman Byron Donalds, who disagree with the standards.
PragerU curriculum teaches students not to judge enslavers because slavery was “no big deal” at the time.
To help implement lessons around slavery, the DeSantis administration has partnered with PragerU. As excerpts from that PragerU curriculum circulates on the internet, educators are expressing alarm over what it teacher students about slavery.
One video features a White ship captain seemingly sailing a ship carrying enslaved people across the Atlantic.
“Slavery is as old as time and has taken place in every corner of the world – even among the people I just left,” the cartoon ship captain says. “Being taken as a slave is better than being killed, no?”
The character then tells students not to judge enslavers because slavery was common and “no big deal” at the time.
“Before you judge, you must ask yourself: what did the culture and society at the time treat as no big deal?” the captain says.
Another video shows a cartoon version of Frederick Douglass calling the preservation of slavery a necessary evil to create America.
“The Southern colonies were dependent on slave labor and they wouldn’t have joined a union that had banned it,” the cartoon Douglass tells two children.
“Are you okay with that?” one child asks.
“I’m certainly not okay with slavery,” the character depicted as Douglass says. “But the founding fathers made a compromise to achieve something great: The United States of America.”
The cartoon goes on to show Douglass disparaging other abolitionists who demanded the Constitution be re-written to outlaw slavery.
Walters’ push of curriculum altering history comes amid an attempted takeover of Tulsa Public Schools
The proposed slavery curriculum wouldn’t be the first time Ryan Walters has hinted at re-writing history in Oklahoma. Just last month, Walters made international headlines after insinuating students should not learn that race played a role in the Tulsa Race Massacre. Walters eventually walked back those comments, but blamed the media for twisting his direct quotes caught on video.
Now, Ryan Walters is currently in the midst of a battle to seemingly try and take over Tulsa Public Schools. The State Superintendent is threatening the district’s accreditation status. Walters says he is supporting all options, including removal and replacement of the district superintendent or even dissolving the district.
If Walters successfully lowers TPS to “accredited with probation”, he could remove Dr. Gist and install a new superintendent. That move would eliminate any checks or board authority over Walters’ hand-picked superintendent. As a result, that new individual would have little accountability beyond Walters, potentially allowing them to implement sweeping changes to curriculum in Tulsa schools.