This Day In History – Goodbye To Voluntary School Prayer At What Cost?
Here is a question to think about. Is it possible to be technically correct and practically wrong at the same time? My answer is, sure it is and it happens a lot.
I believe it happened on this day in history, June 25, 1962. I was just out of 4th grade in the small rural town of Lakota, North Dakota.
North Dakota has always good quality schools and good student performance. In 2018 WalletHub listed North Dakota as number #11 on the list of States with the Best and Worst school systems.
Washington State was #18, Idaho #34 and Oregon came in at #43.
North Dakota is admittedly more conservative than the Evergreen State and my educational roots there no doubt shapes my point of view, but I am with those who understand but disagree with the Supreme Courts 6-1 ruling in the case of Engel v. Vital. 1962, the Supreme Court ruled that the use of an unofficial, nondenominational prayer in public schools was unconstitutional as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
The First Amendment protects all Americans from being forced to participate in a government sponsored religion. That's good. But it prohibits voluntary participation in school and I think that's bad. Technically correct but practically wrong. Once prayer was out, what else followed it out the door? Take a look at schools today and ask yourself one other question. So how's that No School Prayer thing working out?
In a Pew Research Report from 2015 - "One of the biggest cross-national tests is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which every three years measures reading ability, math and science literacy and other key skills among 15-year-olds in dozens of developed and developing countries. The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsors the PISA initiative, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science"
If we want a prayer of chance at competing with the rest of the world in the future, a little prayer in the present couldn't hurt.