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Every American principal unlikely to give this speech
A 2010 article by conservative commentator Dennis Prager is again making the rounds, set as a speech “every American High School Principal should give.”
The ideas in the piece, targeting today’s emphasis on political correctness and diversity, have about as much chance of becoming part of official policy as a mandatory Klingon language curriculum, but it does make some points.
It calls for the elimination of clubs that divide students by race, ethnicity or religious identity, sexual orientation or whatever identity is in vogue.
“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.”
He goes on to call for English-only instruction on top of foreign-language study, a formal dress code, a ban on obscene language, performance-based rewards instead of self-esteem programs, an end to politics and propaganda in favor of academics and a return of a mandatory Pledge of Allegiance.
Like all opinion, Prager’s piece is open to valid criticism, that it promotes blind nationalism instead of critical thinking, ignores the value of diversity and would have schools fail to provide important services to vulnerable populations.
Meanwhile, public education sees itself as under assault, through alternatives such as charter or parochial schools, vouchers or homeschooling.
But those who use public education to advance a political or social agenda should not be surprised when they face a rebellion by taxpayers who do not agree with that agenda.