Confederate Heroes And School Names

In a U.S. News & World Report column today I take a look at the school naming controversy involving Confederate heroes (includes a bit of bonus Civil War history at no extra charge):

FALLS CHURCH, Virginia – All else equal, can we at least stipulate that it’s hardly ideal to send black students to schools named for Confederate heroes? OK, maybe we can’t. That’s still a pretty controversial point for some. What about sending them to schools that are both named for Confederates and doing a poor job educating students of color? That happens every day in too many public schools. Now, one of them, Fairfax County’s Stuart High School, is getting some national attention and pushback. (For the name, of course, not the academic results.)…

…Earlier this year some Stuart alumni reignited the controversy when they started a petition to change the name. They didn’t get too far, attracting only about 1,200 signatures. But then Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore and producer Bruce Cohen got involved with a new petition. They have more than 32,000 signatures. Turns out even Jeb Stuart, veteran of several conflicts in addition to the Civil War, is no match for modern celebrity…

…in 2015, asking black students to attend schools named after people who fought for slavery seems more than a little awkward, too. Asking them to attend those schools when they’re not even getting a great education? C’mon.

Is Jeb Stuart really a most-favored Confederate anyway? Click here to read the whole thing and learn more about why Stuart is an odd choice to fight over, plus a modest compromise for a way out of this naming thicket. There are a bunch of Twitter handles with Confederate names, but @arotherham isn’t one of them. Tweet me your school naming compromise ideas there.

One Reply to “Confederate Heroes And School Names”

  1. Nice try Rotherham. A Confederate is by definition a traitor to the United States of America. Why name any public place after traitors? Hey, I have a better idea. Why not let them keep their traitorous names if they pay reparations for exploiting African Americans during slavery and Jim Crow. If you haven’t read The Half Has Never Been Told by Baptist please do. Beyond that, get off of the mistaken idea that regular public schools are the major cause of the achievement gap. Past and current discrimination plays a much larger role.

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