Praying in Frisco Schools

Brian Brady Brian Brady 4 Comments

Share

Leave in to San Francisco to bring things full circle.  Guess what educators discovered to be effective in public schools? David Kirp at the San Francisco Chronicle reports that prayer...I mean…quiet time, is working

Twice daily, a gong sounds in the classroom and rowdy adolescents, who normally can’t sit still for 10 seconds, shut their eyes and try to clear their minds. I’ve spent lots of time in urban schools and have never seen anything like it.

This practice – meditation rebranded – deserves serious attention from parents and policymakers. An impressive array of studies shows that integrating meditation into a school’s daily routine can markedly improve the lives of students. If San Francisco schools Superintendent Richard Carranza has his way, Quiet Time could well spread citywide.

What Frisco educators are recognizing is that humans have a spiritual side.  While it may be politically incorrect to ask the local  quarterback to talk about spiritual discipline, package it up with a slick entrepreneur and an All-Star pitcher, and you can find a way to let the students pray to whomever they choose.

That’s fine in my book.  Prayer in school works, be it TM in Frisco, Yoga in Encinitas, kneeling towards Mecca at Carver Elementary,  or Bible study in Murrietta.   Look at the results reported in the article:

Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly. About 20 percent of graduates are admitted to Lowell High School – before Quiet Time, getting any students into this elite high school was a rarity. Remarkably, in the annual California Healthy Kids Survey, these middle school youngsters recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco.

Quiet Time is a great idea. Acknowledging a spiritual power, be it the Divine or from within, is the first step towards religious freedom in the public schools.  It might not be a bad idea to let some clerics lead “quiet time” alongside the entrepreneurs.  Let’s hope this trend catches fire.

Share

Comments 4

  1. Brian,

    I read that article, but I missed any mention of “prayer” or of “acknowledging a spiritual power.” I didn’t even read mention of anyone leading the students in quiet time. In fact, I don’t think I read anywhere that the students were told what to be think about during quiet time. Maybe that is why it works.

  2. Post
    Author

    “I don’t think I read anywhere that the students were told what to be think about during quiet time. Maybe that is why it works.”

    I won’t disagree with that HQ but I will state that when Christians asked for “quiet time” to pray, schools (and courts) have misinterpreted Engel v Vitale,

    Clearly, a case was made under the Establishment Clause that a state-sponsored school couldn’t “sponsor” a specific creed. Fair enough. But in Wallace v Jaffree, SCOTUS specifically outlawed a moment of silence for prayer OR meditation. If you read Rehnquist and Berger’s dissent to Wallace v Jaffree, they say pretty much what you said above.

    Will this be challenged like the Yoga classes in Encinitas were? Maybe but I think that would be the wrong approach. Rather Christians and Muslims should use this opportunity to say their prayers.

    I”ll bet if one child makes the sign of the cross or kneels towards Mecca during the “quiet time”, he will be disciplined for NOT practicing TM which, when and if it does happen, will refute what you (and I) believe.

    I find the whole thing fascinating because, when David Lynch promotes what Christians have been saying for decades now, it is somehow “acceptable” (and even proven to have a positive effect). This is one thing I intend to follow closely

  3. “Christians asked for “quiet time” to pray” “…outlawed a moment of silence for prayer OR meditation.” The problem is when time is taken out of the day specifically for prayer. I think that as long as no one specifies what each individual student needs to do during the quiet time, there should be no legal problem.

    As for prayer in school, I don’t know many students who went through finals week without saying a prayer or two. But again, this was a choice, not a requirement or even a suggestion.

  4. Post
    Author

    “The problem is when time is taken out of the day specifically for prayer.”

    That’s essentially what this school is doing twice each day.

    ” I think that as long as no one specifies what each individual student needs to do during the quiet time, there should be no legal problem. ”

    Agreed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.