Someone sent me this e-mail. It is followed by my thoughts on it.
I hope this is true if not it should be!
A CALIFORNIA PRINCIPAL'S OPENING MESSAGE
Dennis Prager, a principal at a high
school in Redding, California, on the first day of classes in 2010:
To the students and faculty of our high school:
I am your new principal, and honored to be
so. There is no greater calling than to
teach young people.
I would like to apprise you of some
important changes coming to our school. I
am making these changes because I am
convinced that most of the ideas that
have dominated public education in America
have worked against you, against your
teachers, and against our country.
First, this school will no longer honor
race or ethnicity. I could not care less
if your racial makeup is black, brown,
red, yellow, or white. I could not care
less if your origins are African, Latin
American, Asian, or European, or if your
ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or
on slave ships.
The only identity I care about, the only
one this school will recognize, is your
individual identity -- your character,
your scholarship, your humanity. And the
only national identity this school will
care about is American. This is an American public
school, and American public schools were created to make
If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial,
or religious identity through school, you
will have to go elsewhere. We will end all
ethnicity, race- and non-American-nationality-based
celebrations. They undermine the motto of
America , one of its three central values
-- E Pluribus Unum -- "from many, one."
And this school will be guided by America's values.
That includes all after-school clubs. I
will not authorize clubs that divide
students based on any identities. This
includes race, language, religion, sexual
orientation, or whatever else may become
in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.
Your clubs will be based on interests and
passions -- not blood, ethnic, racial or
other physically defined ties. Those clubs
just cultivate narcissism -- an unhealthy
preoccupation with the self -- while the
purpose of education is to get you to think beyond
yourself. So we will have clubs that
transport you to the wonders and glories
of art, music, astronomy, languages you
do not already speak, carpentry, and more.
If the only extracurricular activities
you can imagine being interested in are
those based on ethnic or racial or sexual
identity, that means that little outside
of yourself really interests you.
Second, I am not interested in whether
English is your native language. My only
interest in terms of language is that you
leave this school speaking and writing
English as fluently as possible. The
English language has united
America's citizens for more than 200
years, and it will unite us at this
school. It is one of the indispensable
reasons this country of immigrants has
always come to be one country. And if you
leave this school without excellent
English-language skills, I will have been
remiss in my duty to ensure that you are
prepared to compete successfully in the
American job market. We will learn other
languages here -- it is deplorable that
most Americans only speak English. But if
you want classes taught in your native
language rather than in English, this is
not your school.
Third, because I regard learning as a
sacred endeavor, everything in this school
will reflect learning's elevated status.
This means, among other things, that you
and your teachers will dress accordingly.
Many people in our society dress more formally for a meal
at a nice restaurant than they do for
church or school. These people have their
priorities backwards. Therefore, there
will be a formal dress code at this
Fourth, no obscene language will be
tolerated anywhere on this school's
property -- whether in class, in the
hallways or at athletic events. If you
can't speak without using the "F-word,"
you can't speak. By obscene language I
mean the words banned by the Federal
Communications Commission plus epithets
such as the "N-word," even when used by
one black student to address another, or
"bitch," even when addressed by a girl to
a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the
time you leave this school, you will be
among the few of your age to distinguish
instinctively between the elevated and the
degraded, the holy and the obscene.
Fifth, we will end all self-esteem
programs. In this school self-esteem will
be attained in only one way -- the way
people attained it until the state of
California decided otherwise a generation
ago -- by earning it. One immediate consequence is
that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.
Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the
school toward academics and away from
politics and propaganda. No more time will
be devoted to scaring you about smoking
and caffeine, or terrifying you about
sexual harassment or global warming. No
more semesters will be devoted to
condom-wearing and teaching you
to regard sexual relations as only or
primarily a health issue. There will be
no more attempts to convince you that you
are a victim because you are not white,
or not male, or not heterosexual, or not
Christian. We will have failed if any one
of you graduates from this school and does
not consider him or herself inordinately
lucky -- to be alive and to be an
Now, please stand and join me in the
Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our
country. As many of you do not know the
words, your teachers will hand them out
Not true- there are laws that require many of these things to be taught. There are also laws that protect some of our minorities by allowing many of these things in our schools. While much is wrong and broken in our public school system and much needs to be fixed or overhauled or scrapped all together, much is right and good. Clubs and organizations that address culture of origin are great- without them many students would continue to fail because their parents have not assimilated or forgone culture or origin. And if you were to go back to your culture of origin, you would find that much of what you do each day as well as your point of view, come from this origin. To ignore someone else's point of view is to be intolerant and discriminatory.
For many students, the Comprehensive Guidance Curriculum is the only place that they learn about abstinance, what to do when something goes wrong, how to stay safe on the internet, how to not fall prey to preditors, how to escape gangs or abuse at home or the cycle of addiction. Sorry, the world we live in no longer allows for reading, 'riting and 'rythmetic to be all that is taught. And without the required teaching about many of these things this e-mail complains about, your children would be leaving schoole even farther behind the rest of the world than they already are.
However, we can expect students to dress and speak decently. We can also expect students to follow rules, do their homework and not be truant. We also can expect students to learn how to be productive members of society- in whatever way they choose to be successful. I do not agree with everyone being rewarded just for being- you know everyone getting a ribbon or award- we should award those that try their hardest and do their best, but sometimes that is not the student with a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance. Sometimes it is the student that overcomes barriers and if we have stripped everyone of those barriers and do not acknowledge that they exist, and try to make everyone the same vanilla flavor, then how do we acknowledge when someone does something good.
I promise if we take this attitude in our educational process, the problems that exist will not go away. No, they will just be made worse and those students that are identified as problems, for whatever reason- socioeconomic status, culture, medical, psychological- will continue to fail and fail and fail until they give up and we have a world where the elite get more and more elitist and the poor and downtrodden can never rise above their circumstance because no one will give them a hand up.
As for reciting the pledge- well, if you are in my school and I am in the same hall as you when the pledge is being recited? You had better make sure you at least stop walking and talking or you will be guarenteed a strongly worded lecture from me regarding showing respect towards the country that is housing you, feeding you and clothing you. I will not require you to recite the pledge, but I will require you to stand still.
As an educator, I would not want to work for a principal with this attitude, nor would I want to work in a district that allowed this attitude. As a mom, I would not want my child in a school with this principal and as a human, I would not want any other human being educated under this person's tutelage.