Michael Rectenwald got himself chased out of New York University when the self-identified communist copped to tweeting against trigger warnings, safe spaces and bias reporting under the pseudonym “Deplorable NYU Prof.”
The professor left two years ago with a golden parachute — the result of a legal settlement with the private university that included a retirement package.
He’s not content anymore with just writing polemical books and fiction in retirement. Now Rectenwald is scouting for academics to join an educational startup, American Scholars, that is launching this summer.
It will feature prerecorded “anytime lessons” for students of all ages, with a focus on supporting homeschooling, college preparation and adult education, Rectenwald said in an exclusive interview Monday. A rudimentary website went live that night.
American Scholars will “challenge the ideologies that are being purveyed” in mainstream schools, including critical race theory, postmodernism and socialism, he said. It wants to prepare students for the “political outlook” they are likely to face in college.
Rectenwald characterized the American educational system as “very difficult terrain for anyone who’s a political outsider … Even K-12 can be an indoctrination mill. [American Scholars is] an anti-indoctrination mill.”
The venture will run on a subscription model in the range of $30-80 a month for different levels and amounts of educational content. It isn’t planning to seek accreditation at this point, however, due to the difficulty of the process.
Matthew Pohl, the startup’s Austin-based founder and CEO, told Just the News he was baffled that so few companies are interested in making education cheaper and more attainable. “The market is yearning for this,” he said.
He spent a decade as an admissions officer, most recently at the University of Pennsylvania, and then an admissions consultant and educational entrepreneur.
“I’ve had a front row seat” to watch students increasingly lose their “grasp on reality” while racking up immense student-loan debt, Pohl told Just the News. “I was essentially responsible for that as a gatekeeper.”
Too few students graduate knowing how to invest, own property and “navigate the world with constitutional rights on their mind.” There’s too much focus on getting into college and too little on “being mindful about the investment” — choosing majors with a good return and not paying for bloated bureaucracies that peddle divisive ideologies, he said.
By Greg Piper