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Dennis Prager
Dennis Prager
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A Speech Every American High School Principal Should Give

If every school principal gave this speech at the beginning of the next school year, America would be a better place.

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.

Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show and is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of four books, most recently "Happiness Is a Serious Problem" (HarperCollins). His website is





19 Comments | Post Comment
Sounds good to me, Dennis. The teachers' unions would have a conniption fit after hearing that speech - which is itself a good thing. The speech you've got in mind hearkens back to an era when the U.S. was proud of its heritage, culture and values, rather than ashamed.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Matt
Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:13 PM
Speaking of narcissism...

How much more narcissistic can you be than to expect every school principal to deliver a speech you wrote?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Erin
Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:46 AM
Speaking of narcissism...
How much more narcissistic can you be than to expect every school principal to deliver a speech you wrote?
Comment: #3
Posted by: Erin
Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:47 AM
I could not agree with Dennis more. Administrators have no intestinal fortitude any more. Why should they object to using someone else's words? They only say what the Federal government allows them to say now.
Comment: #4
Posted by:
Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:38 AM
I could not agree with Dennis more. Administrators have no intestinal fortitude any more. Why should they object to using someone else's words? They only say what the Federal government allows them to say now.
Comment: #5
Posted by:
Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:38 AM
I could not agree with Dennis more. Administrators have no intestinal fortitude any more. Why should they object to using someone else's words? They only say what the Federal government allows them to say now.
Comment: #6
Posted by:
Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:38 AM
Loved the article so much I used it as the basis for a speech recently at our local Toastmasters Club, and have since blogged it at
Comment: #7
Posted by: Gil
Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:56 AM
Re: Erin
Rudeness will get you nowhere, Erin. Do you disagree with the ideas presented? Then discuss it. And nowhere do I see Dennis "expecting" any principals to do a darn thing with it -- but it's a darn good suggestion.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Gil
Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:59 AM
I received an email that said that Dennis Prager gave this speech as the principal of a high school in Redding, CA. It's a great speech but I want to know if it was given or just suggested that people should give it. thanks
Comment: #9
Posted by: Carol Puccinelli
Mon Mar 7, 2011 11:43 AM
Way to go! I don't think this was a real speech by a principal, but it should be. Then maybe our kids could get an education.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Sandy
Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:46 PM
This is so correct and just what everyone needs to be reminded of :) I posted a copy with our link on fb, I have 5 kids, they need to hear this!
Comment: #11
Posted by: Rob
Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:01 PM
I'm 50yr old white male republican. To imagine this bigoted and ignorant man as a principal of a school is appalling. To assert that these labels that identify us as to orgins, background, beliefs, experiences are not pertinent in our learning experience is plain ignorant. America is a multi-cultural, multi-linqual, open, and free society. While true that the America of today primarily speaks the English of Great Britain; French, Porteguese, German, and Spanish have been spoken since colonial times. Native American languages were spoken here for thousands of years before that. It is sad that racism and bigotry in the name of Nationalistic and Theocratic pride is unleashing itself across America, and that so many celebrate its presentation. The words are frieghtenly similar to the rhetoric used by the Nazi's that fueled Germany to become the monster it became before World War II.
Comment: #12
Posted by: steve
Thu Apr 7, 2011 8:36 AM
Hey steve. I don't believe you are a Republican. Nonetheless, I am spreading this speech in CA because EVERY principal should give this speech. We need to stop the suspension of students for wearing the AMERICAN FLAG. Remember that? Kids in a CA high school were suspended because Latino students were offended over the American flag. That was outrageous steve and someone needs to understand that this is the United States of America. If you want to celebrate cinco de mayo, GO TO MEXICO TO DO IT.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Karen
Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:41 AM
Seriously, isn't it all about balance? How difficult is that.....we have to get away from the "all my way or the highway" attitudes that people like Dennis Prager on the right and Ed Schultz on the left have....balance people.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Bill
Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:17 AM
Re: Gil
Comment: #15
Posted by: kRis
Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:38 PM
you must be from that one nation....
Comment: #16
Posted by: kRis
Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:46 PM
I received a copy of the "Speech" just today. I'm glad that I searched & found that it is two years old. So - Can someone tell me if this speech was "given" or is it a suggestion? The email I received presented it as a speech that Dennis Prager presented at a high school in Colorado - leading the reader to understand that Mr Prager was the new principal at a Denver high school? So it appears to be misleading and outdated. Right?
Comment: #17
Posted by: debbi
Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:27 AM
Seems most people missed the content of this "speech" whether it was actually given or not. There are a lot of key factors that schools have dismissed due to politics and money being spent of other things. I own a business and see high school kids not know basics of life, yet they certainly know pop culture. They don't know who is president, vice president, what is happening in the world, but they have the latest styles, wear pants around their ankles which is absolutely disgusting. Dress codes have always brought more attention to studying. People in USA should know how to speak the language, know how to speak it properly rather than slang, double negatives, etc. Computers have actually made "idiots" out of people, they don't know how to make change, how to balance a checkbook, how to budget, how to speak as they text which has no emotion. Something needs to change everywhere. Parents need to start being parents rather than buddies to their kids and letting society parent. I could go on but if those who responded felt Dennis Prager is out of line, then they are part of the problem.
Comment: #18
Posted by: Bev
Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:49 AM
Re: Matt
I fail to see how the teachers' union would have fit about this speech. I am a member and think it's great.
Comment: #19
Posted by: momofthreeboys
Sat Jun 9, 2012 5:06 PM
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