Oklahoma’s Social Studies Curriculum Is About to Get the Project 2025 Treatment

Tom Williams/Reuters
Tom Williams/Reuters

Oklahoma’s top education official, who last month mandated that middle and high schools must incorporate the Bible and the Ten Commandments into their curriculums, unveiled a new plan this week to move his state’s public schools even further to the right.

Superintendent Ryan Walters plans to overhaul Oklahoma’s social studies curriculum with the help of a committee that includes a laundry list of right-wing think tank veterans and influencers—including Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, whose work on the presidential policy proposal document Project 2025 has gone viral in recent days.

Also included on the list is conservative radio host and media personality Dennis Prager, whose empire of educational YouTube videos—named Prager University despite its lack of accreditation—has been likened to ultra-nationalistic propaganda shown in authoritarian countries like North Korea and China.

Walters promised his revisions to the social studies curriculum will “eliminate DEI, indoctrination, and return teaching back to the basics in Oklahoma.”

“Teacher’s unions have been rewriting history, teaching students to hate America. But not under my watch,” Walters added in a statement to the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner. “Our goal is to give Oklahoma students an education that focuses on history, not indoctrination. The executive committee that we’ve assembled are experts in American exceptionalism, our Founding Fathers, and historical documents like the Bible. These things are essential to understanding our history.”

It remains unclear what, exactly, the committee plans to change in the state’s curriculum, but the move is firmly in line with the priorities Walters has already expressed for his tenure as Oklahoma’s top education official—and builds on several initiatives he has already implemented. PragerU videos, for example, were already being played in Oklahoma classrooms after Walters approved them last September.

The inclusion of Roberts, the creator of Project 2025, is sure to prove especially controversial. The 900-page conservative policy wishlist is intended to serve as a blueprint for President Donald Trump’s second term should he win in November and includes a number of contentious proposals like gutting the federal workforce, mass deportations, reversing same-sex marriage, outlaw medical abortion and tighten access to abortion medication, among many others.

The plan has in recent weeks been covered extensively, with many Democrats and media personalities decrying many of the proposals’ extreme nature.

Roberts also found himself in the middle of a personal firestorm when he said during a cable news interview: “We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be.”

Man Behind Project 2025 Just Said the Quiet Part Out Loud

Trump, for his part, very publicly denied knowing Roberts or having any connections to Project 2025—despite a number of his former aides working on it. He also met Roberts at least once in 2022, at the time offering profuse praise for the think-tank leader.

In a release announcing his plans, Walters also noted several other conservative intellectuals that have agreed to serve on the advisory committee:

  • Stacy Washington, the co-chairwoman of the Project 21 National Advisory Council of the National Center for Public Policy Research, an advisory group to Project 2025.

  • David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, a company that creates educational resources that teach “America’s forgotten history and heroes, emphasizing the moral, Christian, and constitutional foundation on which our nation was built.”

  • Steve Deace, who hosts The Steve Deace Show on the Blaze Network, which is owned by Glenn Beck.

  • Mark Bauerlein, a senior editor of the publication, First Things, whose mission is to “advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.”

  • David Goodwin, the president of the Association of Classical Christian Schools.

  • Everett Piper, the former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University and the author of Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth, which criticizes contemporary colleges for their so-called liberal “agenda.”

  • Robert Pondiscio, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who “focuses on K–12 education, curriculum, teaching, school choice, and charter schooling”

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