A school by any other name ...
Here's a little patriotic news for you leading up to Independence Day. Florida has more schools named for manatees (11) than it has for George Washington (5). Of nearly 3,000 public schools reviewed by the Manhattan Institute, in fact, just 2 percent (59) bear a president's name. Just 28 percent are named after people. Nature names, by contrast, account for close to 33 percent of all school names - including 155 for lakes, 91 for woods and 54 for palm trees - according to the group's latest report, issued this morning. The implication, the group says, is all about civics knowledge, something folks as esteemed as former governor and senator Bob Graham have complained is sorely lacking in our state.
"To teach civics effectively, schools have to be willing to take a stand," the group, led by Jay Greene, writes. "To teach tolerance, they have to be intolerant of intolerance. To teach the virtues of democracy and liberty, schools have to argue that democracies are superior systems of government. The unwillingness of school boards to take stands when naming schools may indicate a reluctance to take the stands necessary to teach civics effectively."
Around the Tampa area, we've had our share of lake and tree schools. But there's also been a trend toward the ideas of democracy and freedom, with schools named after soldiers and even Freedom itself. The Manhattan Institute plans to keep an eye on the trend. So, too, should we all.