And now for a slightly more serious post. The Washington Post today had an interesting article on the naming of schools. It appears that (at least in the DC area) the naming of schools after people, especially dead presidents, is out of fashion. Districts would rather name their schools after something slightly less controversial, like neighborhoods or geometric features. Some quotes from the article:
“But over the past decade, even though 12 Northern Virginia high schools have opened to handle one of the fastest-growing populations in the country, not one of them has been named after a person, much less a president or a general. Instead, the various school-naming committees have embraced scenic, geographic or patriotic titles: Battlefield, Colonial Forge, Dominion, Forest Park, Heritage, Mountain View, Riverbend, South County, Stone Bridge, Westfield and two schools named Freedom.
Maryland is still naming high schools after people, but it appears to be out of sync with Virginia and much of the rest of the country. According to a new Manhattan Institute for Policy Research study, impersonal school-naming practices are a national trend. Three researchers found that 45 percent of public schools built in New Jersey before 1948 were named after people, compared with 27 percent of schools built after 1988. Similar patterns were found in Minnesota, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Ohio and Wisconsin.”
I’ve thought about that in the LA district. Although there are a fair number of schools in the LAUSD named after dead presidents, not all are accounted for. In LAUSD there is: Cleveland, Garfield, Harding (now University), Grant, Jefferson, Kennedy, Lincoln, Monroe, Roosevelt, Taft, Washington, and Wilson (note that “West Adams” doesn’t count, as that’s geographical)… and for non-presidents, Phineas Banning, Miguel Conteras, Susan Miller Dorsey, Franklin, John C. Fremont, Alexander Hamilton, David Starr Jordan, Alain Leroy Locke, Manual Arts, John Marshall, John H. Francis, Helen Bernstein, Esteban Torres, Einstein, Patton, Wooden, Whitman, Thoreau, Rodia, and Ellington.
Why are named schools important? The article answers this: “School names can shape values by providing educators with a teaching opportunity”
As a side note: You can’t have all presidents, as some names are repeats: Adams, Harrison, Roosevelt, Bush, Arthur, Johnson.
So, what names are in your district? Do you cover all possible presidents? Where is Millard Filmore High School? William Henry Harrison High? Andrew Johnson High? Rutherford B. Hayes High?