Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts- Principal e-mail

Someone sent me this e-mail. It is followed by my thoughts on it.

I hope this is true if not it should be!



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

better Americans.

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

to you.

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.

Indeed. add to kirtsy

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