"As long as there are surprise math tests, there will always be prayer in the public schools” has been cited in print since at least March 1983. “As long as there are final exams there will always be prayer in school” has also been cited from 1983.
The popular version usually includes “final exams” and not “math tests.” The saying was a favorite of Ronald Reagan (1911-2004).
21 March 1983, Chicago (IL) Daily Herald, “New fight prepared for school prayer” by Paul Gores, sec. 1, pg. 7, col. 1:
Some educators like to joke that as long as there are surprise math tests, there will always be prayer in the public schools.
Meet the Press
Jokingly, someone has said as long as there are final exams there will always be prayer in school, and individuals will be allowed to pray on their own.
Spied on a large sign in front of a South Boston motel: “As long as there are final exams, there will be prayer in public schools.”
Google News Archive
4 March 1984, Anchorage (AK) Daily News, “Senate prepares to take up old debate over propriety of prayer in U.S. public schools,” pg. A12, col. 1:
“As long as there are math tests, students will pray in the schools,” Rep. Charlie Rose, D-N.C., said.
Google News Archive
6 March 1984, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “God help Congress as it tackles school preayer issue” by Phil Musick, pg. B1, col. 2:
As a teacher was telling the Washington Post the other day, “as long as there are math tests, there will be prayer in schools.”
New York (NY) Times
5 SENATORS OPPOSE SCHOOL PRAYER MEASURE
By JANE PERLEZ, Special to the New York Times
Published: March 16, 1984
Christopher J. Dodd
Current law does not forbid students from praying. As somebody said, ‘’As long as there are math tests, there will be prayer in school.’’
24 April 1984, Phiuladelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Falwell, Edgar: Religion has place in politics,” pg. B3:
“As long as there are final exams, there will be prayer in the schools,” he said.
Passing the test of the ‘80s?
By Carol C. Collins
New York, NY: Facts on File Publications
Lowell Weicker has observed, that as long as there are math tests there will be prayer in schools, whatever the justices may opine.
The origin and significance of sixteenth-century Anabaptism
By J. Denny Weaver
Scottdale, PA: Herald Press
As the old joke goes, “As long as teachers give tests, there will be prayer in schools.”
Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom
By Ronald Reagan
Edited by Douglas Brinkley
New York, NY: HarperCollins
As long as there are final exams there will be prayer in schools.
New York City • Education/Schools • (0) Comments • Tuesday, May 17, 2011 • Permalink