SCHOOL NAMES
 
Just use numbers
 
The old quip about "the crew arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while it was sinking" pretty well describes the recent School Board flap about removing the name of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from a Jacksonville high school.
 
Here we have a system with numerous D- and F-rated schools, most beset with huge truancy and dropout rates, and instead of addressing the core issues related to those failures, vital energy was squandered focusing on the exploits of a man who died over 130 years ago.
 
In reality, probably few if any of today’s students even knew who Forrest was before local activists launched their campaign to change the school’s name.
 
I suspect that class time spent on the American Civil War is either brief or nonexistent in today’s classrooms.
 
Perhaps in an effort to avoid similar problems in the future, Jacksonville should name its schools the way major Northeastern cities do with catchy names like "P.S. 145." (Just imagine what that school mascot must look like.)
 
Let’s get serious. Does anyone truly think that a student’s education and grades will somehow magically improve once the name over the school doors is changed from Forrest, Lee or Jackson to M.L. King, Jesse Jackson or Barack Obama?
 
I once went to a school named "Congress Street."
 
If ever there was a name that invoked shame, that would be it. Yet, I was able to rise above that tremendous handicap.
 
MIKE BOYLE
Amelia Island
 
http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/111208/opl_354842746.shtml