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Dreadnought
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Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:41 pm

Dennis Prager apparently wrote this, suggesting that if every high school principal gave this speech when school started this fall, America would be a better place. What do you think?

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 interesting 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 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 lucky -- 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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BMI727
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:47 pm

Rather jingoistic and ignorant. The way to get rid of racism is to pretend that race doesn't exist? Give me a break.
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:54 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
Rather jingoistic and ignorant. The way to get rid of racism is to pretend that race doesn't exist? Give me a break.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. - Martin Luther King Jr.

The ONLY way to get rid of racism is to make race irrelevant.
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Yellowstone
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:56 pm

And this is why Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly don't get to plan our education policy...
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:59 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
Rather jingoistic and ignorant. The way to get rid of racism is to pretend that race doesn't exist? Give me a break
Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 3):
And this is why Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly don't get to plan our education policy...

I see a couple of libs making some very glib and facile attempts to dismiss the issues, but no real arguments.
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mbmbos
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:26 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 4):
I see a couple of libs making some very glib and facile attempts to dismiss the issues, but no real arguments.

And what arguments has this right wing wet dream of a speech presented?
 
BMI727
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:33 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 2):
The ONLY way to get rid of racism is to make race irrelevant

The way to not be racist is not to pretend that someone isn't black, the way to not be racist is to not care that someone is black. This speech is like Michael's antics in The Office.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.
Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

Enough said.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
Yellowstone
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:36 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 4):
I see a couple of libs making some very glib and facile attempts to dismiss the issues, but no real arguments.

Alright, you want a longer response? I can stretch my lunch break out a bit...

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
There is no greater calling than to teach young people.

Nice start...

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity.

And here the problems begin. I'm all for equal treatment of people regardless of race or ethnicity. However, trying to erase ethnic differences to create one monolithic American identity isn't the right way to do that. The point the speech makes about "e pluribus unum" focuses a lot on the "unum" but not so much on the "pluribus" - we are many, with many different backgrounds and cultures, and all of those different cultures and backgrounds work together to make America great. We should study and appreciate black culture, and Latino culture, and Asian culture, and mainstream/"white" culture, in proportion to the contributions they make to what America is today.

Or to borrow a line from Shirley Sherrod's speech (she was quoting someone, but I can't remember who - we need to create a world in which race exists, but it does not matter.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to celebrate and maintain your identity against the homogenizing force of popular culture. This goes double for people of differing sexual orientations - given that much of the country thinks their existence is a sin against God, their forming a support group to help each other is entirely understandable.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

Agree with a caveat - students should be taught in whatever language helps them learn the curriculum fastest. If this means using some Spanish in intro ESL classes, or teaching math in Spanish until their English skills catch up, I'm fine with that. Of course, if total immersion works fastest, I'd go for that option. I'm not an educational expert.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

Disagree. Formal clothing's expensive, for one thing - hello, classism!. It can be uncomfortable and stuffy, as well. You shoud dress in whatever makes you most comfortable and allows you to focus entirely on learning, rather than your clothes.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

Again, disagree. Free speech, for one thing. Second, swear words are effective ways to add emphasis to your speech and convey more precisely the meaning of your statement. Gratuitous swearing is bad, yes, but sometimes the use of swear words is warranted. Suppose someone mugged you - "that f***'er has my wallet!" is an appropriate response, conveying the urgent anger you feel at your situation. And that "holy vs. obscene" thing? Please. Words are words, they don't have any inherent moral value.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

Agree with this one, although I don't know how you solve the problem of people being tied with the highest possible GPA.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will 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.

Depends on the topic in question. Schools are supposed to present the best available information to their students. Smoking is a proven health risk, so schools should teach kids the risks of smoking. Global warming is broadly supported by the scientific community, so schools should teach kids about global warming and its potential effects. Condom use is a highly effective protection method against pregnancy and STDs, so schools should teach kids how to use them. There are ways to do this rationally and without scare tactics, to be sure, but done right they're not propagandistic. As for sex ed, it's not the school's position to inculcate any particular sexual morality. They should deal only with the health aspects of sexual relations - sexual morality is between the kid and his parents.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

Yet any accurate discussion of American society and history has to recognize that white straight Christian males have had it a lot easier in this country than any other demographic group.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country.

No thanks, I don't pledge - my allegiance is not to the United States, but to the values she represents (wherever they may be) and to all humanity.
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Yellowstone
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:39 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
The way to not be racist is not to pretend that someone isn't black, the way to not be racist is to not care that someone is black.

Agreed. I also think we should be able to appreciate the cultural contributions associated with different races - for instance, if I listen to a Grandmaster Flash record and think, "wow, black people have made some important contributions to modern culture" - that's not racism.
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mt99
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:42 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
non-American nationality-based celebrations.

There goes St. Patrick day!

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language,

There goes the French Club!

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
an unhealthy preoccupation with the self -- while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself.

Is it me - or that sound terrible socialist/communist/Marxist? "Think beyond yourself"..

This is from the people who think that soccer is a communist sport

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
The English language has united America's citizens for over 200 years,

Im sure Native Americans love hearing this...
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n229nw
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:44 pm

I'll bite. I am very liberal. And actually I like many (definitely not all) of the ideas in this speech, as abstract ideas. And one practical point is pretty cool: the idea that clubs should be based on activity rather than identity. I like this idea as it forces people to mix and interact around what they like, to look beyond their comfort zone. I also like the idea of stressing that people should all be happy to be alive and live in this amazing world around us (though I can picture this hypothetical principal telling a depressed student "Hey just be happy you're alive!" instead of sending them to get proper counseling...)

However, the rest of the stuff as a "solution" it is overly simplistic. I too used to think that if everyone just said "I'm a human" the world would be a better place. But the real world doesn't work that way, and you won't be able to erase human psychology by controlling it. As long as certain people will face discrimination in the real world, sometimes based on nothing but their name or their appearance, means that those people can't just pretend they are all the same. They don't have that luxury. They also need tools to understand how to live in the real world, they need to understand how to rise above discrimination if it appears but also make sure it is ended, and to be aware enough of their own identities not to be psychologically thrown by it. And just how are they planning to teach history in this school? "America was always right and nobody there or anywhere else ever suffered?" Now let's all hold hands and pretend that we didn't just invade the country where student X's family all lives?

I am also bemused by this:

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.


Hmmm, what about all those white male Christians claiming victimhood? Funny how they got left out here. When anyone BUT white Christian males claim victimhood, it is "angry feminists" or "PC gone mad" or "Gay Agenda," but when Bill O'Reilly goes on his 8000th rant about the war on Christmas, then it is suddenly legitimate victimhood. According to this version, only the group that has actually controlled things for 200 years in this country its way is allowed to have a victim mentality Give me a break.

Finally, this part is downright laughable.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda....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.

     

So the pledge of allegiance is academics and not politics or propaganda, but teaching kids about the effects of cigarette smoke, or how to use a condom, is politics and propaganda?!?!?!

(And by the way, no matter how load some blowhard talkshow hosts with no scientific background scream, the scientific consensus is still very much that global warming is happening--denying it is the part that is politics and propaganda...)

Thus, about the whole last part I can only say:

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 3):
And this is why Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly don't get to plan our education policy...

Tanks God for that!

[Edited 2010-07-28 14:59:47]
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PPVRA
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:49 pm

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 8):
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
The way to not be racist is not to pretend that someone isn't black, the way to not be racist is to not care that someone is black.

Agreed. I also think we should be able to appreciate the cultural contributions associated with different races - for instance, if I listen to a Grandmaster Flash record and think, "wow, black people have made some important contributions to modern culture" - that's not racism.

I think that's the idea, any bad wording on the text aside. A study group or club of black history is perfectly ok because it would fall under the passion/special interest category. Allowing only blacks to join, however, would result in a violation.

That's my understanding of it, anyways.
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Aaron747
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:49 pm

Well-intentioned but very off the mark, and I have to agree with the application of the term here - jingoistic.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values -- e pluribus unum, "from many, one.

This is logically inconsistent. If America is truly "of many, one", then there is absolutely no problem with celebrating the heritage of all those who comprise the citizenry. If anything that reinforces the notion that America is truly unique in the regard that we are able to incorporate so many different backgrounds into our national fabric. It's like the idiots who say it's unamerican to serve sushi at a ballgame - if that's what people want to eat when watching baseball, so the hell what?

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible.

A noble and laudable goal, except...

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
No more time will devoted to

The writer should, at the very least, be able to use the simple future tense correctly.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

Such as?

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school's property -- whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events.

How, pray tell, would this be enforced? Athletic events...are you kidding???

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

Who defines what is holy or obscene? The principal?

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
smoking and caffeine

Are still consumed in far too great quantities by American teenagers. Such education programs have affected measurable reductions in the prevalence of their use - and should continue. Society benefits by reduced treatment costs later.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue

Sexual relations in the context of teenagers is a legitimate public health issue. Compare statistics regarding condom usage now with 30 years ago and you will see these programs have also had a measurable effect. You want to tell them how to talk at school and then leave them to their own devices in terms of their bodies when their parents may not be doing the job? Quite curious. There's a religious subtext in some of these remarks, and on that basis, the jig is up on this speech.
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FlyDeltaJets87
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:03 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 12):
How, pray tell, would this be enforced? Athletic events...are you kidding???

My dad is a lacrosse official and if he hears a kid drop the f-bomb towards another player, he immediately calls an unsportsmanlike penalty (on a case by case basis - if a kid misses a shot and says "Ah shit" or "fuck!" out of frustration from missing, he lets it go. If one player says to another "F*** YOU!", then he's getting tossed). Certain penalties have to be reported to the school, especially if the player is ejected from the game.

My    to answer your question there.

[Edited 2010-07-28 15:12:43]
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:03 pm

Quoting n229nw (Reply 10):
As long as certain people will face discrimination in the real world, sometimes based on nothing but their name or their appearance, means that those people can't just pretend they are all the same.

The existence of bigots doesn't define what someone is. In the eyes of that bigot, yes, because that's what makes them a bigot. But not on the eyes of the one who suffers from this attitude of others. He doesn't have to pretend to be anything, because s/he knows s/he is deserving of the same respect.

Quoting n229nw (Reply 10):
They also need tools to understand how to live in the real world, they need to understand how to rise above discrimination if it appears but also make sure it is ended, and to be aware enough of their own identities not to be psychologically thrown by it.

This is a good point. Support groups to handle these pressures are a perfectly legitimate reason.

Quoting n229nw (Reply 10):
And just how are they planning to teach history in this school? "America was always right and nobody there or anywhere else ever suffered?" Now let's all hold hands and pretend that we didn't just invade student X's country?

I'm not sure where you got this from. I don't see any of the above as somehow limiting teaching history how it really happened.

Quoting n229nw (Reply 10):
[Hmmm, what about all those white male Christians claiming victimhood. Funny how they got left out here. When anyone BUT white Christian males claim victimhood, it is "angry feminists" or "PC gone mad" or "Gay Agenda," but when Bill O'Reilly goes on his 8000th rant about the war on Christmas, then it is suddenly legitimate victimhood. According to this version, only the group that has actually controlled things for 200 years in this country its way is allowed to have a victim mentality Give me a break.

True, and according to wikipedia, Mr. Prager is one of those "judeo-Christian values" kind of person who probably would give his own values a pass. A hypocrite for sure, but still, I'd take the article to also include religion.

Quoting n229nw (Reply 10):
So the pledge of allegiance is academics and not politics or propaganda, but teaching kids about the effects of cigarette smoke, or how to use a condom, is politics and propaganda?!?!?!

True again. Funny how conservatives love the pledge so much when it was written by a socialist and is completely statist in nature, both something Republicans in general denounce.

[Edited 2010-07-28 15:10:00]
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san747
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:03 pm

Quoting Yellowstone (Reply 7):
Suppose someone mugged you - "that f***'er has my wallet!" is an appropriate response, conveying the urgent anger you feel at your situation. And that "holy vs. obscene" thing? Please. Words are words, they don't have any inherent moral value.

As Lewis Black said, profanity is something adults use to express anger or rage so that we don't all pick up a tire iron and beat the shit out of each other.
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Flighty
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:29 pm

What a nonsense speech. It has a lot of outrageous nonsense-cloaked-as-patriotism such as "And now, we will all recite the Pledge of Allegiance..." I mean, even the US Supreme Court would not agree with that. So much for being loyal to the United States.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 14):
Funny how conservatives love the pledge so much when it was written by a socialist and is completely statist in nature,

Correct, that's because conservatives are actually maniacs for government intervention, when it's the kind they like (taking care of soldiers, attacking Islam, promoting Christianity, outlawing abortion...)


But, yes, schools should focus on academics and not identity. The USA's math scores are pitiful compared to others. Almost none of our high school seniors are skilled at calculus. Yet, it is necessary for LOTS of careers.

So, it is still true that many colleges and universities are openly racial (-ist?) about their admissions policies. I was flabbergasted by their open racial references when I was in college. For example, the president of my college gave a speech giving a special welcome to students of certain races, describing how he was particularly glad that certain races were in attendance. This struck me as more appropriate for a race rally, or maybe I was being too literal. He certainly meant no harm.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:21 am

1.)

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.
Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties.

What if a particular student's interests and/or passions are related to their heritage, race, or ethnicity?

2.)

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

Language was already stated as something that clubs will NOT be based on (see point 1 above). But now it's listed as something that clubs CAN be based on.

3.)

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.

Is it really the school's place to judge whether a student has "valid" interests or not? Many people have serious doubts, fears, pride, or whatever in their ancestry and family. Saying something like that is not a good way to inspire people - it immediately causes unhealthy judgment and divisiveness.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
The way to not be racist is not to pretend that someone isn't black, the way to not be racist is to not care that someone is black.

      

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 11):
Allowing only blacks to join, however, would result in a violation.

The speech didn't say that, though. And frankly, that would probably already be a violation. I haven't heard of a public school sanctioning a single-race group or anything.

4.)

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

I don't generally agree with formal dress codes. I don't mind minimal dress codes (a.k.a. "no bikinis" or something), but formal dress codes are unnecessary, in my opinion.

5.)

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs.

Does that mean that a student with bipolar syndrome or something can't get any help at school? Probably not a good precedent to set.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will 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.

I have absolutely no problem with a school educating students about the very real dangers of smoking, alcohol, drugs, STDs, etc, and ways to prevent them. This can be done without preaching at the students.

In summation:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
Rather jingoistic

  
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
ltbewr
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:12 am

As to not having ethnic/racial/sexual orientation groups, that is counterproductive. Many such groups are vital for students to survive, to have support, to educate, to develop friendships, to challange abuses of the schools and other students. Going along with this writers ideas would also mean no Proms, no dances, even ending some sports.

I do agree is cracking down on foul and inappropiate language on school property. It has become the norm by far too many to use such language and it is wise to educate persons to not use is as it demeans others and to better prepare people to behave properly in their employment now and later in life.

As to a formal dress code, I don't think it meant wearing suits for men, skirts or dresses for women, but rather as many schools have done, requiring wearing specific 'uniforms' or items and colors of clothing. Many schools have done this to take away the contest among students to dressing expensively or inappropiatly as well as set a standard they will have to be prepared for when they enter the workforce.

As to the general tenor of these comments, it is a wish that many want to go back to the 1950's. Problem we are in 2010, things have changed. Many students are in single parent families, have a steparent, have parents both working long hours to keep a roof over their head. We don't have segerated communities, we all work in a 'melting pot' America, not just White or Black or Hispanics or straights.
 
Doona
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:06 am

These three:

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda.

This is all well and good, but:

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.
Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
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.

It basically just meant that he, the author, gets to decide what piece of morality cake to serve his students. So it's not about imposing some morals in school, it's about imposing his morals. No condoms, because it's political propaganda, but school uniforms are fine, as is heavier restrictions on language. (And the fact that Americans have managed to turn sexual health among teenagers into a political issue, and a hot one at that, is very sad.)

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
everything in this school will reflect learning's elevated status.

Well, at least that really should mean the end of school sports. Gym too for that matter. What's the elevated-learning part of being forced to climb a damn rope?

This whole speech reminds me of a saying from somewhere (might have been Japanese): "The nail which stands out will be hammered down," or something to that effect. It's all well and good to want to be able to treat children/teenagers equally, without any consideration for anything, but it's unrealistic. People are different, even when we're kids. And school should be a place where we don't only learn, but also a place where we're allowed to try being the person we want to be as adults. The schools I went tried to be like that, and mostly failed, unfortunately, but I still believe in it.

Hell, it took me 7 years to come out of the closet, from first realizing to actually telling people. And the reason for that was school. If there had been a gay-straight alliance at any of my schools, it would have helped me a lot. Saying that "this issue is not going to be a problem from now on" and expecting it to work is idiotic. Yes, there were no restrictions or anything like that for me as a gay teenager in junior high, and there were rules in place to "stop" bullying, discrimination and so on. I had no support system of any kind (if I wasn't prepared to tell my friends, I sure as hell wouldn't go to my family), and that left a mark. I felt very alone back then, even though I had plenty of friends. Didn't really help my academics along during that time, either.

My point is that personal issues do play a part in a kids school life, and trying to ban personal expression of any kind is problematic. Since when is anyone able to turn off whatever is happening in their lives (which, btw, can be quite alot when you're a teenager) and focus solely on their excellence in academics?

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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:40 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue.

If you do that, your teenage birth rate will go up. I have scientific evidence to prove it. Your job is to teach students. Global warming is a fact and it's science. Reproduction and contraceptive technology is part of any health class and health is a scientific subject. It's information and a school's job is to disseminate unbiased information to students. You do not choose what is science. The school will teach all science, including evolution, global warming, and reproduction.

Denialism is a powerful force and you've fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.
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jpetekyxmd80
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:39 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 4):

I see a couple of libs making some very glib and facile attempts to dismiss the issues, but no real arguments.

Well, you sure disappeared when it came...
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Dreadnought
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:53 pm

Quoting jpetekyxmd80 (Reply 21):

Well, you sure disappeared when it came...

Not at all, I am glad that some people took the time to actually come up with arguments. I never said I agreed with everything that Prager said, and I don't. But it was an interesting point of view and I wanted to get people's opinions on it.

The most important aspect which he gets into is the whole racial/ethnicity thing. I know most of you disagree, but that is a product of this whole worshiping diversity BS we've gotten into. What made the US a fantastic place was people coming to America and forsaking their previous identities as Italians, Chinese, Irish etc, and declaring themselves American (sometimes with outrageous accents). As far as I am concerned, unless you have dual-citizenship, you should consider yourself an American - full stop. A true African-American can be a white person - he could have been born in South Africa or Rhodesia. Do Mexican Americans have both passports?

Quote:
"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

Somebody raised St. Patrick's day. That's a fair point. But it is my impression that Americans of Irish descent don't carry their ethnicity at the front of their minds all the time. Everyone becomes Irish once a year and it's an excuse to paint the river green for a day. Big deal - I see no great divisiveness in that.

Quoting Ltbewr (Reply 18):
As to a formal dress code, I don't think it meant wearing suits for men, skirts or dresses for women, but rather as many schools have done, requiring wearing specific 'uniforms' or items and colors of clothing. Many schools have done this to take away the contest among students to dressing expensively or inappropiatly as well as set a standard they will have to be prepared for when they enter the workforce.

I like the idea of dress codes. The idea is that school is not a fashion show, as it is now. Some of you have had teenage girls like I had who got terribly upset if they did not have an all-new wardrobe for the fall (and another in spring), or didn't have a brand of jeans that were in fashion. That stuff does not belong in school. Polo shirt, khakis and loafers for the boys, and something similarly neutral for the girls.

The other message that a dress code encourages is that while you are in school, you are their for a purpose, just like having a job. It is not the place for socializing. Do that on your own time after school.
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avent
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:27 pm

It's like a meal of conservative cotton candy to me.

With sanctimonious howlers like:

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
The English language has united America's citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school.

as the nation is bitterly divided by the ultra-conservative rightwing, it's hard to take it seriously.

Yet another howler:

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning's elevated status.

- hilarious since the rightwing has an anti-intellectual boorishness and has fought against evolution and is busy revising history books in Texas.

And, yet another howler:

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere.

Tell that to the prayer in school crowd.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere.

Translation: if you're hispanic, or native american, or chinese, or asian, suck it up - the white middle-class protestant culture is the de-facto culture here.

As a littany of perceived tea-party crank issues - it could be useful.

As something to be actually used in a school? It's quite pathetic really.
 
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:44 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 22):
What made the US a fantastic place was people coming to America and forsaking their previous identities as Italians, Chinese, Irish etc, and declaring themselves American (sometimes with outrageous accents).

Forsaking their identities? That's a little extreme, is it not?

If you immigrate to the US, you're now an American. No forsaking required.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 22):
As far as I am concerned, unless you have dual-citizenship, you should consider yourself an American - full stop.

I am about as American as they come, but it actually kind of amuses me to call myself Indian-American, just to piss people off.

Seriously, who the hell cares what I call myself??? I know where my allegiance lies, and those close to me know where my allegiance lies. I don't care if the rest of the country knows or not....Just like I'm not personally concerned about where your allegiance lies.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 22):
Somebody raised St. Patrick's day. That's a fair point. But it is my impression that Americans of Irish descent don't carry their ethnicity at the front of their minds all the time. Everyone becomes Irish once a year and it's an excuse to paint the river green for a day. Big deal - I see no great divisiveness in that.

Now you're making an exception based on a generality. Bad precedent - every other group will want an exception as well.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 22):
The other message that a dress code encourages is that while you are in school, you are their for a purpose, just like having a job. It is not the place for socializing. Do that on your own time after school.

While school's main purpose is to educate, it also serves the (to me) just-as-important function of socializing kids.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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n229nw
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:27 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 22):
Somebody raised St. Patrick's day. That's a fair point. But it is my impression that Americans of Irish descent don't carry their ethnicity at the front of their minds all the time. Everyone becomes Irish once a year and it's an excuse to paint the river green for a day. Big deal - I see no great divisiveness in that.

Unless you choose to make it divisive, neither is anyone else celebrating their heritage. Only the white right wing has chosen to make those other celebrations divisive, by trying to ban them, or claim their own victim status because they are no longer the only ones who get to celebrate their holidays.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 14):


The existence of bigots doesn't define what someone is. In the eyes of that bigot, yes, because that's what makes them a bigot. But not on the eyes of the one who suffers from this attitude of others. He doesn't have to pretend to be anything, because s/he knows s/he is deserving of the same respect.

I don't think we disagree in principle, but I think that it is easy to underestimate how psychologically damaging bigotry is to kids. I think you do have to give kids from any group that may face bigotry strong role models drawn from within that group, so they see that the bigots are wrong, otherwise, it is really easy for them to internalize that they are inferior, and that will often play out as them living down to those expectations. To a certain extent, that does mean having an "identity" that is at odds with the goals of this principal's hypothetical speech.

On all other points, I think we agree completely.
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BMI727
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:09 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 22):
I know most of you disagree, but that is a product of this whole worshiping diversity BS we've gotten into.

There is a difference between not worshiping diversity and just pretending that diversity does not exist. One is good and one is bad.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 22):
What made the US a fantastic place was people coming to America and forsaking their previous identities as Italians, Chinese, Irish etc, and declaring themselves American

Oh. Is that why we still celebrate St. Patrick's Day, or in other places Casimir Pulaski Day or Cinco De Mayo? Or why our language is littered with words and expressions from all sorts of languages? Or why one can find just about any sort of food close to home? Changing and becoming a part of one's new residence and it's culture is one thing, but forsaking their traditions is something entirely different. I don't think we should ask anyone to "forsake their traditions."

Simply celebrating Cinco De Mayo or Kwanzaa does not make one less American, and to think it does is ridiculous.
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kiwiinoz
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:03 am

If my kid went to this school I would be pulling her out straight away.

I went to a school that embraced and celebrated diversity, and certainly didn't try and conform everyone into a single, homogenous, falsely constructed culture. Apart from being very interesting for me and my classmates at the time, it has helped me immensely in business on a global level. I have benefitted from the immersion into a range of cultures. Also, in celebrating the cultural differences to my own, (as opposed to just being aware of them), it allows it to be a profoundly fulfilling experience.

It's a highly unambitious philosophy, particularly when considering where the world is heading. Broader understanding of humanity, as opposed to nationality, is the way of the future
 
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n229nw
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:42 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 22):
But it is my impression that Americans of Irish descent don't carry their ethnicity at the front of their minds all the time.

Oh yeah, I forgot to add: that part is also quite problematic:

1.) Ask actual Irish people in Ireland how often they meet Americans who announce "I'm Irish!" but would actually be pretty damn culture-shocked if they lived in Ireland...and if you walk around places like South Boston you will see plenty of Shamrocks and plenty of Irish flags.

2.) For decades Irish-Americans harbored IRA terrorists and contributed huge sums of money to the IRA.

I don't mean this as an attack on Irish Americans in any way. I simply mean to point out that all of the "issues" you claim are only true of Mexicans or Bangladeshis or whatever else are just as true of Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc. ALL people will have a natural tendency to identify with their cultural heritage, they will tend to get involved and contribute to causes they see as affecting their land or culture, and so on and so on.

So when you and for that matter everyone who makes certain right wing rants says it is "your impression" that Irish Americans are different, what you are basically saying is: I only have a problem with people celebrating their "identity" if they are not white and/or not Christian...otherwise it is fine and I don't notice.

Finally, I also forgot to mention before that at my son's school they recently had a "multi-cultural celebration." The kids there are from all over. Parents brought food from different countries, the kids shared stuff about those countries, etc. And then they all felt MORE not less American together, because they were accepted and allowed to express another part of the culture they carried with them...and they learn more about the world they live in ant eh people they will meet in it...
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ALTF4
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:59 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 24):
While school's main purpose is to educate, it also serves the (to me) just-as-important function of socializing kids.

      That is one of the problems with schools, in my opinion. School is school. Why the hell does it need to be a 9.5 hour long ordeal? Get up, go to school, learn what you need to learn, then go home.

Once you're done with school for the day, go socialize with friends on your own. Forget this fake "society" that is created within a school. If you get kids out in the real world mixing with their peers and adults, you would get a much more realistic socialization platform.

You're welcome to disagree with me (just staing the obvious) - but frankly I don't see why you would.  
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vikkyvik
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:51 pm

Quoting ALTF4 (Reply 29):
You're welcome to disagree with me (just staing the obvious) - but frankly I don't see why you would.

I do.

I've met a few home-schooled kids when I was younger, and they pretty much all were much less socially-adapted or whatever you want to call it (obviously, not all of them are like that).

Why don't we just have everyone home-schooled, and save our towns and cities some money? After all, I don't need to be in a building with 1000 other kids to learn what I need to learn, right?

By the way, when I said "socializing kids", I didn't mean socializing like discussing the latest clothing trends, or whatever - nothing that specific. I meant "socializing" in the way you try and socialize a pet, so it isn't scared of random people.

And what's a "9.5 hour ordeal" about school? I was in school for 6.5 hours mandatory. Anything before/after that was my own choice. Are you saying we should eliminate all after-school programs, sports, clubs, detention, extra-help sessions, etc.?
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ALTF4
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:30 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 30):
home-schooled kids

To be honest, some of the best educated and brightest kids I have met were home-schooled. At the university I go to, 6 out of the past 7 student government presidents have been home-schooled and are constantly in the papers, being commended by the university president, etc, all at one of the top 3 schools in the state. Of course, though, as you stated, I have found some exceptions to that, and of course these people I just mentioned are the "shining stars", if you will.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 30):
I meant "socializing" in the way you try and socialize a pet, so it isn't scared of random people.

And this is where I don't understand your reasoning. We "train" kids to get ready for the real world in a fake environment. Why can't a kid grow up in the real world, interacting with other adults and other children, instead of other children within 3 years of their own age and a few adults who usually get pissed off about spending the majority of their day babysitting? I'm not saying that they cannot be around other kids - but lets balance this thing out - bring in some respectable adults into their lives instead of always being around kids and teachers (nothing against teachers). I'm only talking a few hours less in school.

I know I might be crazy, but I think the whole education system could use a makeover. School should be school. Go get involved in other things to do other things.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 30):
after-school programs

Why is it called "after-school" if its still at school? Its babysitting.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 30):
sports

Make schools plain old schools, and with the extra money, develop community sports teams outside of school. We have 4 or 5 baseball diamonds in every park around me, plus soccer/football fields.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 30):
clubs

Plenty of clubs out there that could be run without being in a school.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 30):
detention

Parents should do the disciplining. Maybe this is where my ideas run into a brick wall. Parents tend to not give a flying ***k about their child's behavior. Maybe they expect the school to punish them?

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 30):
And what's a "9.5 hour ordeal" about school? I was in school for 6.5 hours mandatory.

I don't know how long it has been since you were in school, but I knew of a few people who were in school from 8am to 5:30pm some days.
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JBirdAV8r
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:39 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 2):
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. - Martin Luther King Jr.

The ONLY way to get rid of racism is to make race irrelevant.

And to rid ourselves of the notion that "minority" does NOT automatically equal "disadvantage."
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RE: Hypothetical High School Speech

Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:59 pm

People are all different. It makes no sense to pretend we are all the same regardless of our differences; this is like saying a new Audi and a 1975 VW Bus are equivalent because they both have an internal combustion engine. A school's purpose is to prepare young people for the future by imparting knowledge and skills that will help them succeed in whatever future endeavors they choose to undertake. A good school should also teach kids what exists outside the confines of their ZIP code, of their state, and most importantly, outside their own country. Ethnic and cultural clubs give students the opportunity to learn about the world and give a glimpse at other countries.
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