If every school principal gave this speech at the beginning of the next school year, Canada would be a better place.
To the students and faculty of our high school:
I am your new principal, and honoured 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 Canada have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.
First, this school will no longer honour 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 when your ancestors arrived here or how they got her.
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 Canadian. This is a Canadian public school, and Canadian public schools were created to make better Canadians.
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-Canadian nationality-based celebrations. They undermine Canadian 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, 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.
Third, 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 CRTC, plus epithets such as the N-word that rhymes with trigger even when used by one black student to address another black, or the b-word that rhymes with witch 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.
Fourth, 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.
Fifth, 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 a Canadian.
Now, please stand and join me in the singing of Oh Canada. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.
***This speech was adapted from a column written by US Talk show host Dennis Prager last year***