A speech every High School Principal should give.

Posted by $ Dobrien 7 months ago to Education
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A Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give.

-- By Dennis Prager.

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. This 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, racial or sexual identity,that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.

Second --

I am uninterested 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 over 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 would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete 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 Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

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 "nigger," even when used by one black student to address another black, 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 your age to instinctively distinguish 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 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 this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately fortunate -- to be alive and to be an American.
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.

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  • Posted by freedomforall 7 months ago
    It is NOT deplorable that many Americans only speak English. If there were significant incentives for most to speak other languages in addition to English in the past then people would have learned them in self interest. That was not the case. Blaming them is no better than blaming people today if their ancestors did something legally that is now considered unacceptable.

    It's deplorable that so many speak and write English poorly.

    I do consider that I was fortunate to have been born in America many years before this speech was needed and the points in the speech were already accepted and usual.
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    • Posted by $ DriveTrain 6 months, 4 weeks ago
      While I think use of the word "deplorable" is hyperbolic on Prager's part - perhaps necessarily hyberbolic, given the pushback he's attempting here - I completely agree that limiting fluency to one's own native language is
      a.) foolish, at a time when international travel and exploration are relatively simple and (at least in my view) one of the greatest joys in life;
      b.) a massive stunting of education: Learning other languages gives a student a far deeper understanding of his native language in addition to the one being studied; there is important value in foreign language study in understanding nuances such as the way differences in syntax affect both internalized thought patterns and external emphasis within communication; there is a massive aesthetic value in fluency in another language if one wishes to appreciate prose and poetry in that language, as originally written. (Example: I've become a raving Japanophile with a love of Japanese rock, literature and history - and there is a world of difference - pun if you want one - in reading a necessarily-jumbled English translation of Bashō's "Narrow Road to Oku," or just the lyrics to the Shakalabbits' "Monologue," versus reading/hearing them with the original syntactic structure and phonetics intact.)
      c.) in the case of Latin, a disadvantage in the study of the sciences. As Dobrien has pointed out, Latin is the language of the natural sciences and medicine, so an instant advantage should the student decide to enter one of those fields in his later education.

      There's also simple practicality. Anecdote: I once found myself in a "conversation" at a bar in Paris' left bank, and since my Tourist French was limited to asking about hotel rooms and "Where can I find beer? / Where can I find a toilet? / I love you," and the lady did not speak English, we were able to communicate by cobbling sentences together out of what I remembered of H.S. Spanish and German - a little like the character Salvatore in Eco's "Name of the Rose." It was hilarious and silly, but... we were able to communicate.

      So no, learning languages outside of one's own is not "necessary," but to lack that training is to be needlessly - and foolishly - stunted in one's education and hobbled in one's future explorations of the planet, methinks.
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    • Posted by $ 7 months ago
      While I don’t think it is deplorable , many folks would benefit from say learning Latin.
      We all understand the importance of phonics, the systematic study of the English letters and their sounds. But phonics only covers half of our language, the English half, those good old concrete words that students learn to speak and read first. But then we stop, even though there is another half of English that has a whole new set of root words, spelling, and pronunciation patterns.

      English, you see, is a hybrid language, a marriage of two languages—English and Latin. The name English comes from the Angles who, along with the Saxons and other barbarians, invaded Britain after the fall of Rome in the 5th century. English is a Germanic language and, the Germans being barbarians, had mostly concrete, common, everyday words, the words children learn to speak and read first in primary school.

      But, beginning in 3rd grade, students start to encounter the Latin half of English. Latin words are bigger, harder, have more syllables, more abstract meanings, and different pronunciation and spelling patterns. How do we teach the Latin half of English in a systematic orderly way like we do phonics? We don’t. But we should. And the only truly systematic way to continue the study of the English language after phonics is to teach Latin—the foundation of the Latin half of English.
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      • Posted by $ Snezzy 6 months, 4 weeks ago
        I use Latin fairly often. When I cannot remember the word I want, or when I'm trying to discover a Spanish word I don't know, I reach through Latin. It's even helpful in translating German into English!

        Yes! Allow me to demonstrate: What's the word Unabhängigkeit in English?
        German / Latin
        un / in
        ab /de
        hang / pendere
        keit /-ness

        Put the Latin parts together and you come very close to "independence." Of course this does not work for all mysterious German words, but it clearly is helpful sometimes.

        An additional use for both Latin and Greek is for coining new words. If you have invented something you might need a generic name or a trademark. Latin and Greek will come to your rescue, sometimes together in the same word, with television as one example.
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        • Posted by Steven-Wells 6 months, 3 weeks ago
          C'mon, Man!
          To link German to Latin like that ignores that English exists regardless of its origins, which does include a lot of German..
          When "we" asked Herr Becker in high school German class what the Declaration of Independence was, we didn't have to struggle through Latin to make sense of:
          Die Unabhängigkeitserklärung
          as the un on-hanging-ness declaring

          I was going to go through a bunch of German cognates, but instead, I'll let Monty Python explain Latin.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 6 months, 4 weeks ago
        If you want to get into legal terms, Latin is useful. If you want medical terms, Greek is far more useful.
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        • Posted by $ 6 months, 4 weeks ago
          3.) Latin provides the root words for all of the modern sciences.

          We live in an age dominated by science, so parents often ask, “Why study something useless and impractical like Latin? What we need is more science and math education.”

          We think science is important too—so important that we strongly recommend Latin to these folks. And here’s why: All of the modern sciences began their development at the time of the Renaissance (about 500 years ago) when all educated people knew Latin and Greek.

          A new science means a whole new set of words, a whole new vocabulary. Think of all the new words that came with computer science. Think of all of the big words in biology, chemistry, astronomy, psychology, sociology, and economics. The first task in learning a new subject is to learn the vocabulary. Learning the vocabulary is half the battle.

          How will your child learn all of those big words in his science education? What preparation do we give our students to help them master the tremendous demands of learning the specialized vocabularies of the sciences he will study in high school and college? We don’t! But we can and should. Latin provides the root words for the specialized vocabularies of not one, not half, but all of the modern sciences.

          You see, new science terms have to come from somewhere. People don’t just make up new sounds and words out of nothing. They all came from the ancient classical languages, Latin and Greek. Think of Latin and Greek as a big quarry where scientists go to dig out new words. Even the word computer comes from the Latin word computo, to count, to sum up.

          Now what is the difficult part of learning a new science? What is the grammar of a science? The vocabulary. Learning the specialized vocabulary of each new science is half the battle
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          • Posted by $ blarman 6 months, 4 weeks ago
            Quibble: medical science is based entirely on Greek - not Latin. The study of medicine is originally attributed to Hippocrates working out of Ephesus centuries before the Romans came to power. (It's a neat visit to see the preserved tools he was using for primitive brain surgery.) Latin was primarily the language of the Roman Empire which ruled most of the ancient world in the Mediterranean, but still used Greek as a second language. Latin was used for architecture and politics, but trade was still largely in Greek.

            Many in science are getting away from Latin precisely because so few people study it. That's not to say that studying Latin or Greek isn't useful, just a reality that language evolves to common use. No one uses Latin in day-to-day communications where it gets preserved and passed down to future generations. Even the Catholic Church has long since abandoned Latin for Mass except in exceptional circumstances. Greek nearly died the same way and modern Greek is very different from ancient Greek with only about 10 million who still speak it every day. Compare that to English which is spoken not only in the US, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia, but nearly every other country in the world as a second language.
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    • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 7 months ago
      I do agree on the language thing...although, if one had a desire to visit another country, it might be beneficial...I always wanted to visit Sweden...I once planned a sailing trip there but couldn't get my wife to sign on.
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  • Posted by Lucky 6 months, 4 weeks ago
    Dennis Prager sets out sound principles.

    On his second point- Good arguments here and in comments on language.
    I think:
    If you are a native, learn the language of the nation you are in, otherwise without any language fluency thinking is inhibited. Learn other languages, perhaps those of newcomers, to get valuable different perspectives.
    If you are a new comer with your own native language, cherish it and the culture as far as they are of worth, that helps you to understand who you are. Learn the language of the nation you are in, it makes it easier to participate and contribute, with your original language you now have the advantage of more than one thinking style.
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  • Posted by rdjohnson56 6 months, 4 weeks ago
    Uh. OK. This is pretty good. It is not deplorable, though, if the only language you can speak is English. That line of thinking is a bit over the top. Also, I'm not going to have kids stand up and recite the pledge of allegiance. To robotic for me. So I would take out the last two lines of the speech.
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    • Posted by lrshultis 6 months, 4 weeks ago
      Yes, Americans should read about the origin of the Pledge. The USA got along very well without the socialist minister butting in with the need for some pretend Patriotism in the late 1800s and then the necessity of a flag in every classroom. And now the worshiping of the flag so much that it now means no more than something to cheapen by being everywhere and to be discarded in the trash.
      Not knowing better, I would go along with saying the Pledge in elementary school until the Conservatives added their religion to it and continue to wish for a theocracy for the USA.
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  • Posted by preimert1 6 months, 4 weeks ago
    Isn't it interesting that one can get away with sayig almost anything by using Latin-derived words, while the English equivalnt is considered vulgar in polite society--urinate, fornicate, deficate, etc. come to mind. It seems like using Latin is like a "meta" language for English. Chauser would be rendered mute.
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  • Posted by $ DriveTrain 6 months, 4 weeks ago
    This is brilliant - and though I disagree with him on a number of things, Prager is a man of undeniable wisdom.

    And if you haven't had the experience of attending a H.S. graduation in awhile you'd be in for a nasty knock. Roughly a decade ago - which means ten years less degraded than today - I attended a graduation ceremony at a school in Pasadena, CA. The entire ceremony was predicated on ethnic identity above all else, culminating in a seemingly-endless series of speeches by students of different ethnicities, each given in that student's native language. Because: Multiculturalism. I call it "Multiculturacism." So yes, concurrent with the seemingly contradictory but valid point on learning multiple languages, Prager's point about a common language standard for a given country is also correct, though he does not mention the important point that the enemies of a given culture can and do use ethnic Balkanization - most potently achieved via eradicating a common language - in the effort to divide and conquer.

    And of course this has all gotten orders of magnitude worse. My one chief gripe with this speech is that he gives only tangential and cursory emphasis on curriculum in his Sixth point. The reason the United States of America is currently in an unacknowledged war and suffering open attacks by enemy combatants on the streets of its cities, is because of curricula consisting of content like Howard Zinn's "Leftwing Activist's Op-Ed on the United States." Maybe to get to correcting the core of the problem requires first digging through the nonsensical fluff - the racial / gender / linguistic Balkanization, the disciplinary and civil degradations - on the surface. But the core problem - the inculcation of intellectual poison - is the point source of all of the rest. Students believe what they're taught. If "what they're taught" is that Western Civilization is somehow inherently evil and must be destroyed, then do not be surprised if the effluent emerging on Graduation Day is a pack of raving collectivist drones.
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  • Posted by wmiranda 6 months, 4 weeks ago
    If I lived in Europe, I would probably learn other major languages from the surrounding countries.. If I lived in Central or South America, I would probably learn English, if I didn't already know. Living in the U.S., I wouldn't see the need to learn another language, but for personal satisfaction. I personally know Spanish and when I lived in New York, I was learning Italian. That was due to friendships I had. Now I live in Florida and Spanish has served me well, even if not necessary to know Spanish. It's nice to hear people say in surprise "Oh, you speak Spanish!" when shopping at some stores.
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