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A Prayer for Our Schools

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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:

Dear God,

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.”

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  • Shark

    Things are getting so insane that it’s hard to do satire any more. You can’t satirize something that satirizes itself — which about 90% of our cultural output does on its own.

    Seems like in the culture war, we take one step forward and about a half-a-mile back.

    At this rate, we should reach the new ‘Inquisition’ by about 2006.

    PS: shameless plug –
    more on school prayer

  • Eric Olsen

    Following up on your point, Sharky, please make sure to put in the subcategory of “Humor and Satire” on yours that are that given the escalating absurdity of real life. Thanks.

  • Shark

    Heh. Will do! Wouldn’t want my fake journalism to be confused with the real fake *journalism out there!


  • bhw

    Shark, every sacred cow needs its day in the sun. [Oh GOD that’s an awful double platitude, isn’t it? Note to self: start taking lunch breaks out of the office.]

    If I can’t satirize stuff like this, I’ll lose my effing mind from the depressing reality of it.

    Laughter may not be the best medicine, but it’s cheaper than hillbilly heroin.

  • There’s satire and then there is trying to sneak racist crap like this under the radar.

    ‘Sharky,’ eh, Eric? Will you be loosening Psycho Shark’s straight jacket straps and tucking him in bed with a teddy bear, next?

  • Chris Kent


    That’s the second time you’ve promoted Shark’s rather peculiar post. You’re doing more to make people read it than he ever did when posting it.

    The Dallas gorilla incident was one of the saddest things I’ve read about in a while. That gorilla was taunted by stupid kids and he broke out. If that gorilla had wanted to, he could have killed 5-10 people. I hate zoos, especially areas where gorillas are forced to live. It’s the most depressing thing to see in the world. I don’t think that incident should have been made fun of, but it shouldn’t be promoted either……

  • Chris Kent, I don’t remember whether you were here doing the last gorilla episode. Probably not. If you were, I think you would understand why Psycho Shark posted that entry. Hint: It is not because he has an interest in animals.

    (P.S.: I am Chris Kenting you because there are so many Chrisses here.)

  • Shark

    Chris, I agree; it was a sad event. It made me really pissed and depressed. Zoos are an abomination.

    But as to humor and satire, that’s one way I deal with that kind of stuff. And I did think the Dallas cops angle was pretty interesting; they’ve been pegged (rightly or wrongly) as pretty impatient with the ol’ firing arms over the last few decades.

    Anyway, I don’t apologize for anything, and if MacDevil wasn’t such an ignorant paranoid, she’d understand the LAST thing about that piece was a racist attitude toward anybody.

  • Chris Kent, I agree that the gorilla’s death was a sad event. The incident, including the injuries, is regrettable. This episode shows how far we are from understanding intelligent animals just like the Keiko/Willy situation did.

    But, I was trained to look at the evidence when evaluating a situation. The evidence against Psycho Shark is conclusive. He has been major contributor to every hate thread posted at Blogcritics. He never mentions people of color without having something denigrating to say. The entry referred to is at least his second making fun of people of color. I also do not believe even an insane person would make the reference to ‘minority’ in the headline unless he wanted the gorilla-people of color connection highlighted.

    On another thread, the apparently manic-depressive Psycho Shark is whining that people here are plotting to do something to him in real life. Talkin’ about paranoid. I don’t know of any such plans for the individual, but I can’t think of anyone more deserving of any misfortune that might befall him.

  • Shark

    …but I can’t think of anyone more deserving of any misfortune that might befall him.

    Wow. What a thing to say.

  • Chris Kent

    I like everything you write Shark…..and the Dallas Police Department leaves a lot to be desired…..There was something about the gorilla incident that left me deeply disturbed.

  • Shark

    Chris, thanks, I needed that.

    After such an ugly thing as McDemon said, I was startin’ to feel like humanity had sorta left the building.

    re: the gorilla – I know. That event haunted me for days. Still does. I believe there’s a real good (serious) story in there somewhere.

  • Chris Kent said:

    I like everything you write Shark…..and the Dallas Police Department leaves a lot to be desired…..There was something about the gorilla incident that left me deeply disturbed.

    Since 90 percent of Psycho Shark’s time at Blogcritics is spent assailing me, I gather that means you approve of old, washed up white sociopaths attacking bright young women of color. It seems an odd thing to brag about though. Oh, well, at least you have some empathy for the gorilla. My email program overreacts when I use address blocking, therefore I must ask that you no longer contact me. I’ve decided that I will not interact with people who back this insane (and utterly talentless) individual in his shameless behavior. You have placed yourself in that group.

  • Chris Kent


    I think Shark is a great writer and I enjoy his posts. I think you are an amazingly good writer and I enjoy your thought-provoking posts. I have teased you guys about your ongoing feud and have not taken it seriously. For that I apologize. I shall stand clear.

  • Shark

    In the space of 24 hours, McD ‘removed’ two people from her ‘friends’ list — Chris and CW Fisher — two of the best writers and overall gentlemen on this site.

    They were sent to the “enemies” list simply for expressing pleasure at one of my riffs.

    Again, I can’t apologize for the insane vengeance this woman has for folks who expresses an interest in my work, but I guess the goal is to put a chilling effect on anyone contemplating a response to one of my posts.

    So I have to find ways to induce the average reader to read and respond to my current and future entries.

    From here on out, for all posters who even feign the appearance of communicating with me, I’ll email a coupon for One Free Donut!

    (“Compliments” receive an upgrade to a Cinammon Roll.)

    Thanks — Shark’s Management

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t like any of this “us vs. them” stuff and would really like to see conflict contained to specific issues, or if really necessary, specific individuals. I don’t think a general guilt by association is helpful.

    Clearly the fact that people stick around is reason to believe there is common ground to be found – shouldn’t we try to maximize common ground and not extrapolate points of contention?

  • Shark

    Eric, although you made an honorable plea for sanity, it wasn’t explicitly directed at me.

    So for that, you get a half a coupon.

  • Eric Olsen

    Half a donut is better than none, Sharky – btw, what is the ontological status of donut holes?

  • Shark

    They only exist when you look away.

    See Schroedinger’s Dessert experiment for more.  

    (And someone notify ‘duane’ that it’s SHOWTIME!)

  • bhw

    Donuts, schmonuts. I’m just happy people are commenting on my post.

    Oh wait ….

  • jaded naivete

    Rambling, but so what.

    What is so bad about prayer in the schools? Everyone wants to go back to the 50’s lifestyle, whether they realize/admit it or not. People want life to be nice, where you could walk down the street without having to look over your shoulder, and worry about bad things happening. Where your kids could ride their bikes across town, and stay out till dark. Well, this writer’s here to tell you that many of the issues that we have today began when the law steeped in and told people where they could and could not pray. I will catch untold amounts of flak for this view, and have on numerous occasions done so, but it is the truth. I am not a bible thumper by any means, but you would have to be blind to not be able to correlate the timings of “no spiritual guidance allowed” in schools, and when things really spiralled downhill. Schools ( where kids spend the majority of their time) didn’t or wasn’t allowed to care, and then the parents slacked off, and then we get what we have today – metal detectors on the doors, drug sniffing dogs in the halls, and teachers that care becoming more and more infrequently found. I do not send my children to public school, they attend parochial school. If you observe (and I have) two 1st grade classes going on a field trip to the same place, form the local elementary school, and from my son’s school, there is a world of difference between the manners and behavior of the two groups, and I will assure you that it is not my son’s class that was acting out in an unacceptable manner.

  • bhw

    I for one do NOT want to return to the 50’s. I’m pretty happy to have missed them the first time around, thank you very much.

    As for safer neighborhoods and schools, who wouldn’t want that? But that doesn’t mean I want the whole 50’s package.

    And I don’t think the lack of prayer in school has caused anything but the lack of prayer in school. That and the lack of the hand of government forcing religion — ONE religion — on children.

  • gee, come to think of it…i stopped drinking milk back in the mid-60’s and since then society has gone straight to heck in a handbasket.

    the timing is is eerie.

    i’m so sorry everybody.

  • jaded naivete

    One time disclamer:

    Please don’t bother to attack my spelling or grammatical errors, as they are most likely typos, and I am too lazy to backspace and correct them. So relax, I probably can make things comprehensible through elaboration just as well or more efficiently than you, and with a more appropriate syntax. If you see them, at least you are reading it, and I seriously doubt that they would make the meaning unclear.

  • I assume Jaded is kidding. (I definitely hope so.) Half my relatives fled the South as if they were being pursued by men in white robes carrying torches and rope during the ‘nice’ 1950s. (Come to think of it, they probably were.) My older brother and sister were not riding their bikes wherever they wanted. They may have been praying in school, but it was while using second-hand books in a segregated building with a leaky roof and a rat infestation. I, for one, have no desire to join Jaded in her time machine. To do so, one must conjure a fantasy world that never existed and ignore the suffering that did.

  • Shark

    Jaded Naive, What an appropriate name.

    First, the 50s sucked.

    Secondly, I was raised during that period, grew up with plenty of morals and manners and never once prayed in school. (I didn’t even pray in church; I was too busy drawing cartoons in my hymnal. As a matter of fact, I started skipping church as soon as I realized there were no dinosaurs spotted in the Garden of Eden.)

    Your wish that a simple incantation mumbled in a classroom could return our culture to earlier days when men were gentlemen and women were ladies is admirable, but incredibly simplistic and… dare I say, naive.

    BTW: If kids wanna pray in school, NO ONE IS STOPPING THEM, except the words of *Jesus. Just for drill, you might wanna see what He had to say about this subject:

    Matthew 6:6 – “But when you pray, go into your room, and when you have SHUT THE DOOR, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees IN SECRET will reward you openly.”

    I don’t think there’s a lot of room for interpretation on that one.

  • jaded naivete

    Re:posts 22, 23

    Ok, guys go ahead and make fun. Yet you do not explain why our (public) school system is in such a deplorable state.
    >>> As far as safe neighborhoods and schools, who wouldnt want that? “<<< Apparently you don't... there are many people who bitch and whine about the horrible thought of religion in school, and one religion being forced upon the children, but no one said that there had to be one religion, I know students from other private schools that are just as good and smart and respectful as the ones from my son's school. You say who wouldn't want to have safer neighborhoods and schools? Probably you haven't ever volunteered to work at your local school, have you? Do you belong to a neighborhood watch group?

  • Yet you do not explain why our (public) school system is in such a deplorable state

    and yet you do not explay why our (public) schools system ARE in such a deplorable state.

    lack of prayer ain’t it. that’s waaayy too simple.

  • Shark

    Jaded, as far as stopping violence:

    last time I noticed a really big, effective “Faith-Based Initiative”, it took down the Twin Towers in NYC.

    The Islamic Terrorists pray SIX TIMES A DAY.

  • jaded naivete

    >>>Matthew 6:6 – “But when you pray, go into your room, and when you have SHUT THE DOOR, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees IN SECRET will reward you openly.”

    I don’t think there’s a lot of room for interpretation on that one.<<< Nice quote choice, but bad follow through. As is always, there is room for interpretation...you are reading the words, yet the spirit of the passage is not a rule that says you must hide in a room, and share with noone. What it means is don't pray for show, and to show everyone how well you can, I believe it was put..recite incantations, but you are most certainly able to gather and share in the rejoicing with your brothers and sisters. PS. I have read some of your posts, and I think that to say that you have plenty of morals and manners is a gross exaggeration.

  • Eric Olsen

    The change away from prayer in school may coincide with a general downplaying of teaching values in school, but values can be taught without a return to what is clearly a violation of the separation of church and state. Schools should be emphasizing civic values that are essential for the functioning of participatory democracy – they can leave spirituality to home and church.

  • jaded naivete

    Let me get this straight, you are now drawing a parallel between GACP (Generally Accepted Christian Principles)and Islam? Wow, you are skewed in an alternate direction.

  • Your comments are starting to make me wonder, Jaded. They sound rather. . .exclusive. For example, exactly what is your neighborhood watch watching for? Most crime in a neighborhood is by people in that or nearby communities. Are you guys watching yourselves? Do you all realize that your friend Jane’s son Johny is the person breaking into cars or that the teenagers are buying drugs from ‘nice’ Mike, who is a senior at Jesuit?

    Mark, in his usual direct way, cuts to the core of your fatuous claim: There is no causal relationship between prayer and ‘nice’ schools. Indeed, I am hard put to find a tangible relationship between prayer and anything. I believe prayer mainly acts as an emotional escape valve for the person praying.

  • jaded naivete

    Ok, again, the phraseology comes out
    ” the schools should be teaching valeus and morals ” – how are they to do that? {Actually provide a real solution, I would love to hear it } And the values that we are looking for are to be found in our history prior to the 60’s, I wonder why?

  • Shark

    I’m saying that the idea that PRAYER as a CURE ALL for violence is sorta negated by the fact that heartless murderers pray six times a day.

    re: interpretation – It’s the “Literal Word of God” or it’s metaphor.

    Can’t have it both ways.

  • Um. “Prior to the 1960s.” Please elaborate on what happened during the 1960s thar ruined society, Jaded.

  • jaded naivete

    Re: # 33

    Exclusive? What does that matter? I am not in control of the people that have taken control of certain parts of our city, yet i’m not going to let them take away what I work (hard) for, or vandalize just or the sake of doing it.. We have to watch out for the people that don’t want to pray in their schools….LOL

  • Shark

    And the values that we are looking for are to be found in our history prior to the 60’s, I wonder why?

    I don’t know which 60s you lived in, but the values were pretty stinky overall back then, too. At least we’ve moved up to the 60s, and those people chasing McD’s folks with ropes had turned to dogs and water hoses.

    A few more posts, and we’ll be up to that golden era of compassion and altruism, the 1980s!

    PS: Values don’t have expiration dates.

  • jaded naivete

    I never said that the bible was the literal word of God. I’m goona go eat my PB&J on white for lunch now, you guys come up with something more interesting than you have so far, which by the way, I still haven’t seen an alternate method for instilling values presented. And please don’t bring race and dissonance riots into this discussion, furthering the new great american pastime of “digression”. Most of America wanted to click along in pleasantville, not throw bricks.

  • an alternate method for instilling values presented

    a good place to start would be:

    -comparative religous studies (so just maybe we’ll know something about how the rest of the world lives)

    honestly, instilling values used to be a function of the family….and a lot of what went on at home (eating dinner together, playing together, etc) has been replaced by both parents at the workpace, grabbing food on the way out the door, instang messaging, cellphones, video games, and television, television, television.

  • JR

    I lived near a parochial school when I was a kid. I had to stay clear when those kids got out of school because they would throw rocks at any kid not in a uniform. I don’t know why they acted that way, I never met any of them. I couldn’t meet them, seeing as how it wasn’t safe to get anywhere near them.

  • Dark bread is tastier and more healthy, Jaded. Why will you be having your peanut butter and jelly sandwich on ‘white’?

  • can you actually spread peanut butter on white bread without ripping it? (wonderbread, that is. good for fish bait too, but the way)

  • jaded naivete

    Heh, good one, JR. 🙂

    Ok, Cmmnt#40, those are good ones, and we eat together every night, just about. We do have a video system, Gamecube ( mostly not blood and guts games), and TV is pretty much limited to wholesome comedy, or educational programming. Now how can this plan, which I say is an excellent one, be enacted upon on a massive scale?

  • jaded naivete

    Um, cause I’m not crazy about dark bread?

  • jaded naivete

    Re:# 43

    Butter both pieces first, it helps with cohesion.

  • jaded naivete

    Re # 42

    MD, why don’t you go ahead and call me a racist, or Nazi, or zealot, or whatever it is you are working up to? I have read your prior posts on various subjects as well, and that subject seems to pop up alot….

  • I suspected you didn’t like dark bread, Jaded. How about challah or Jewish rye?

    I am saddened to hear you are missing my favorite network television show The Practice. Would you care to share why you will not watch it ?

  • Corporate values suck. Furthermore, if you are going to depend on a state institution to teach values, that will suck as well. What about family? Community? Corporations are destroying all of that. Down with corporatism. Down with Big Brother.

    Shark, donut holes are Fnords? I wouldn’t eat a Fnord.

    Eric said: “Clearly the fact that people stick around is reason to believe there is common ground to be found – shouldn’t we try to maximize common ground and not extrapolate points of contention?”


  • Eric Olsen

    I have noticed of late that people have accused Mac Diva of laying down the race card when she has in fact not done so. I would hope that we could respond to what has actually been said rather than what we anticipate others might say.

  • gotta agree with Dirtgrain here, the problems that i layed out can only be solved by a concious effort of society and the family.

    but…there’s an awful lot of inertia to overcome. for instance, what the heck are you gonna do about the fact that most parents are working long hours…creating permanent latchkey kids?

    i’m not really sure about the sitting down to dinner thing either. something tells me that all of the planned activities for kids has caused some of though (though those activities, in and of themselves, are a good thing).

  • jaded naivete

    RE: # 48

    Dang it, I told myself I wouldn’t get into that. You aren’t going to get me off of my original subject, and on to your favorite one.

    Re: # 49

    Hey man, it’s your show…i’ll think whatever you want me to think. I can read, and reason, and apparently so can others. If there’s smoke, there’s usually a fire though.


    Back to the issue originale. We have( through the diligence and perseverance of we the parents) taken an active role or roles in the community to ensure the the way of life that everybody really wants ( don’t bother saying you don’t) regardless of personal origin 😛 My wife is there when the kids leave, and there after school. We have a nice house, and a yard, and I like it that way. Do you really think that the dream of a white picket fence came to be by accident?
    You would be sadly mistaken. It may be pie in the sky wishful thinking, but that’s what everyone wants ( yes, i am sure that there are people out there that don’t, but they are in the minority globally). You think that the people in the desert would pick that dirt floor over wall to wall carpeting? Nope. That the people living in caves prefer bedrock over sheetrock? Fresh water? Fresh and plentiful food? nope. Picket fences, green yards, and dogs named Fido or Spot. Come on, lie to me, tell me that it wouldn’t be great it the world was one big national park, with everyone frolicking through verdant green pastures…..anyway, I know that will never happen, but I know that our village is intact, and that we are raising our families together.

  • jaded naivete

    BTW, the Practice overall IMHO sucks, the big black guy (Eugene?) and the little chubby guy can be interesting, due to their emotional responses.

  • Shark

    Dirtgrain and Marky Mark are spot on.

    I’ll add:

    Values are assimilated, not ‘taught’.

    Values should be assimilated from *family first, friends second, and culture next.

    (ideally, by using that Mandatory Wacky Uncle as a model)

  • Shark

    I have noticed of late that people have accused Mac Diva of laying down the race card when she has in fact not done so.

    (Shark praying — for the first time in his life — that this statement was intended as irony)

  • Eric Olsen

    No irony – it doesn’t do much good to drag resentments around from post to post. We should try to start over again each time, wipe the slate clean, begin anew and other cheery bromides of reconciliation and renewal. Otherwise we preclude the possibility of change and growth, and I don’t think we want to do that.

  • jaded naivete

    Why not it works SO well for the justice system….

  • You must be confusing me with someone else, Jaded. I have never called anyone a ‘Nazi’. Nor is the word ‘zealot’ one I use much. Perhaps you are quoting someone who himself does not paraphrase me accurately.

    Nor will I use the word ‘racist’ to characterize you in my description, though you do seem to be trolling for that. I would say you are a person who is a virtual recluse. Someone so afraid of life that you are shutting it out in an elusive and doomed search for ‘safety.’ Also, you are someone who fears reality and hides in fantasy worlds. If you actually read history books about the 50s and 60s you would have no illusions they were perfect times. The Cold War. Domestic oppression. High rates of alcoholism and dependence on prescription drugs. Bad marriages because it was difficult to get a divorce. Unwed mothers homes. You will not see any of that on Leave It to Beaver or The Dick Van Dyke show.

    Back to your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You do realize the popularization of peanut butter was the work of inventor George Washington Carver, right?

  • Shark

    …and white bread was invented by David Gates.

    (Betcha Eric knew that)

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    David Gates was also a member of that
    loose knit group of session musicians
    called the “Wrecking Crew” that worked
    for Phil Spector. Betcha that Eric also knew that too. He knows everything.

  • bhw

    Jaded wrote:

    You say who wouldn’t want to have safer neighborhoods and schools? Probably you haven’t ever volunteered to work at your local school, have you?

    I don’t go to school. Neither do my kids.

    But I do some stuff with a local literacy foundation. Is that good enough for your 1950s standards?

    Do you belong to a neighborhood watch group?

    No. I’m fortunate to live where one is not needed. Besides the 83-year-old widow [and her cat] across the street pretty much keep an eye on everything for me.

    As for values, I’ll just bang the drum of some other commenters and say that they start at home and are reinforced in the community, such as in schools. [And one of those values is religious freedom and the notion that government agencies can’t impose religion on children in school.]

    If prayer was so important to creating good, safe schools, then many a prestigious secular private school would be out of business. So money [in the community and school itself] and the things it provides access to have more to do with the quality of a school than anything else.

    A lot of kids come from poor home environments [not in the monetary sense, but in the parental sense]. So schools can be a safe haven for them, a positive environment that practices the values it preaches. A kid in a middle-to-upper-class community from a troubled home usually has a better chance of succeeding than the average kid from a troubled community. It’s about the money and the services it can buy. Prayers are nice, but cash is better.