Madisonians aren’t afraid to name their schools after people, or alphabets

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The conservative Manhattan Institute got lots of press a couple of months ago for its study of school naming practices, which discovered that ever fewer schools are being named after people. This trend, the Manhattanites wrote, “raises questions about the civic mission of public education and the role that school names may play in that civic mission.”

Well, in its perennial effort to become the “most progressive city in America,” Madison, Wisc., which I’ve been visiting this week, veritably oozes with civic mission–albeit possibly not the same mission that the guys at the Manhattan Institute are on. This is from an article in yesterday’s Capital Times:

Eighty-seven possible names for Madison’s newest elementary school were submitted to the district by Monday’s end-of-day deadline. … The new school was originally named Vang Pao Elementary last spring but the School Board withdrew that name after the Hmong military and civilian leader was charged in California in June with conspiring to topple the Communist government [of Laos, I presume].

The full list can be read in the Capital Times article, but here are some of my favorites:

Clarence H. Beebe
Amy Elizabeth Biehl
Bong-Sijan Medal of Honor
Brain Dead School Board
Rachel Carson
James Doty
Frederick Douglass
Tony Farina
Frank J. Gambino
Mahatma Gandhi
Glacier’s Edge
Elroy Hirsch “Crazylegs”
Hmong-American Unity
Hmong Freedom
Honor Striving
Steve Irwin
Coretta Scott King
Martin Luther King Jr.
Lady Liberty
Thurgood Marshall
Christa McAuliffe
Nash (Philleo & Edith)
Peace & Prosperity
Promise (School of)
Senator William Proxmire
RPA (Romanized Popular Alphabets)
Ronald Wilson Reagan
Fred Rogers
Thornton Wilder
Reggie White
Frank Lloyd Wright