A public school principal in Louisiana is under investigation for violating the federal ban on school-sponsored prayer. She allegedly handed out prayers — complete with grammar and punctuation errors — for students to recite before taking standardized tests.
Hey, shouldn’t there be a federal ban on school principals who write grammatically incorrect anything? Maybe I’m just being picky.
Apparently, the principal has no faith in the students or teachers because she thinks each child needs to pray for help in passing the tests, referred to in the prayer as the “enemies.” And she also seems to think the kids need to be spoon-fed a prayer, as if they aren’t capable of saying their own prayers in their own way, should they wish to do so. [Which, by the way, would be the legal form of prayer in school.]
I’m surely no fan of standardized tests as the sole barometer of a school’s or an individual’s performance, but shouldn’t the principal at least pretend she doesn’t loathe the tests, just so the kids have, oh, I don’t know, a positive attitude toward taking them? Or at least not a “the test is my enemy” attitude? I’ll settle for a neutral attitude, okay? The “enemy” attitude can’t be a good thing, particularly for kids who are struggling academically.
Do You Believe in Miracles? NOOOOOOOO!
The principal also distributed a “special announcement” to teachers last year, dealing with the school’s troubled status: it’s in danger of being taken over by the state for poor performance. Like the prayer, the announcement contains grammar and punctuation errors and asserts faith in God. To me, it also shows a lack of faith in the teachers and students:
We will not be taken over by the state but by faith. … We will need a miracle. And after all isn’t that what he specializes in?
Perhaps miracles are God’s specialty. But doesn’t the specialty of school principals and teachers have something to do with educating students so that they don’t need miracles to bail them out? I guess it’s too much to ask for a little positive thinking and perhaps a plan of action to improve the students’ skills and, as a byproduct, their test scores.
BHW Gets the Whole Scoop and Nothing But the Scoop
Thus far, news stories have published only excerpts of the prayer and announcement. But the BHW investigative team has unearthed the complete text of both documents, and it’s a doozey of a read. [You should have seen the rough drafts!] Please note that I have reproduced the writings exactly from the originals, blemishes and all.
First, the announcement given to teachers:
To: All Green School Staph
From: Principal Stroller
Lord have mercy on us, we are UP the crick. Education in New Orleans, is in trouble.
Teachers, there is no way on Gods green earth that those children will improve there test scores this year, I don’t now what the problem with those kids is but they still can’t read and rite. Basic skills, my ass. I wish I’da nown this sooner. Then I couldof done something about it.
Well its to late for that now. Were headed for state takeover if we don’t start asking for help from the man upstairs, because he’s all weve got left. So start praying for a miracle, we need it.
You need to be a prayer warrior and pray for each other, each others family, and for our school. I’m sure well prevail if you can do a lot of praying. Don’t bother with the books and lesson plans now. That stuff doesn’t work with these kids.
The only thing left is a little divine intervention. I really believe that we will not be taken over by the state but by faith. We will need a miracle. And after all isn’t that what he specializes in?
Amen it is. Now go get those prayers started and get me that miracle!
Now, the prayer given to students to recite:
We need your help today, we are not ready to face our enemies but we have to because the tests are mandatory. But we cant defeat them without your help because we sure cant read or rite. And forget add, subtract, or divide. And so we pray to you:
That we can prepare ourselves in heart and mind to take this test,
so we can randomly fill in circles in #2 pencil,
and with your help and a little from a freind at the testing service,
we can get a miraculous pasing grade.
We receive your help faith, knowing that through you we shall do valiantly, for you are the one who treads down our enemies.(LEAP, Iowa).
Please, God, dont let the evil state come in and improve our schools. We dont need to learn anything, we just need to pass the tests.
And then our principal can keep her job.
Is anyone dialing 1-800-state-of-louisiana-board-of-education yet?
On the up side, the principal is actually a role model for the students in her school: she’s living proof that being literate doesn’t matter much at all, even for an educator. In fact, she’s the perfect embodiment of the failed American education system: “Don’t you pay any attention to those grammatical errors, honey. You can always be a teacher. Or even a principal.”