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MAGA Activist Plans to Open Chain of “Patriotic” Schools

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Charlie Kirk is a pro-Trump activist with a huge following and an organization called “Turning Points USA.” He plans to open a chain of private schools to teach America-First ideology. This is a frightening turn of events. Partisan schools that indoctrinate students.

His plans were temporarily stymied when one of his key contractors backed out after learning that he was the client. But he is forging ahead, with a projection that he will collect $40 million annually in revenue by indoctrinating children into his world view.

Turning Point USA, the youth group led by pro-Trump activist Charlie Kirk, sought to entice investors last year with a new foray in the culture wars: an academy aimed at students failed by schools “poisoning our youth with anti-American ideas.”

A company in the early stages of realizing Kirk’s vision was anticipating millions in revenue from Turning Point Academy — part of an effort to market K-12 curriculum to families seeking an “America-first education.”

A document circulated within StrongMind, an education firm in Arizona where programmers had begun work on the project, noted plans to open the online academy by the fall of 2022 and assessed its “potential to generate over $40MM in gross revenue at full capacity (10K students).”

The firm’s plans disintegrated last week amid a Washington Post investigation and backlash from StrongMind employees concerned about the prospect of Turning Point-directed lesson plans. A key subcontractor tapped to prepare course material also backed out after learning that Kirk’s group was the ultimate client. The 28-year-old activist, who boasts 1.7 million Twitter followers, has championed former president Donald Trump’s baseless claim that widespread fraud cost him reelection and has scorned demands for racial justice that followed the 2020 murder of a Black man at the hands of the Minneapolis police, calling George Floyd a “scumbag.”

Kirk still intends to open the academy, though with other partners, said a spokesman, Andrew Kolvet, who called the agreement with StrongMind “nonbinding and nonexclusive.”

The early blueprint for Turning Point Academy — laid out in detail for the first time in documents and chat logs reviewed by The Post — points to the growing market for education and media serving families disgruntled with public schools, a flash point in many communities and a key issue on the campaign trail. The quest to raise revenue by allowing families to bypass traditional schools and buy curriculum more aligned with their political worldview worried some experts and watchdogs.

“This sounds like a very slippery slope,” said Carole Basile, dean of Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “It depends on what the curriculum actually looks like, but to move in the direction of letting partisan identity decide what is being taught, that feels new and worrying…

Turning Point USA, founded by Kirk in 2012, rose to prominence by maintaining a “professor watchlist” promising to unmask liberal instructors. The nonprofit prospered under Trump’s presidency, raising more than $80 million from undisclosed donors, according to its four most recent tax filings. It announced its intentions to launch an academy last year, in the midst of an inflamed debate over how much schools should focus on racial inequity.

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