Education Report Roundup

Naming Schools

By Laura Greifner — July 13, 2007 1 min read

Fewer schools are being named after prominent people such as former U.S. presidents and military leaders, and more schools are being named after natural features such as rivers, mountains, and lakes, a study shows.

“What’s in a Name? The Decline in the Civic Mission of School Names” is available from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

The report, by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, examined schools in seven states representing 20 percent of all public school students. In New Jersey, for example, naming schools after people dropped from 45 percent of schools built before 1948 to 27 percent of those built since 1988.

While the study did not delve into the causes and consequences of that trend in school names, it suggests that broad cultural changes as well as changes in the political control of school systems may be a factor. It also says that the trend raises questions about the civic mission of public education.

A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2007 edition of Education Week