September 19, 2007

What "broadly respected civic virtue" can we name our school after?

The elementary school in Madison was going to be named after the Hmong hero Vang Pao, but then the feds arrested him (for plotting to overthrow the government of Laos). So now there's a new school-naming policy:
...Madison schools may be named after prominent local, regional or national figures who are dead, for a locally significant geographical site, for a place of local significance or for an idea or concept that represents a broadly respected civic virtue.
I'm fascinated by the category "an idea or concept that represents a broadly respected civic virtue." First, I love the idea of naming schools after abstractions instead of honoring individual persons. Virtues can't get besmirched by arrest or embarrassing disclosures. Even if you only pick dead persons, new information can emerge about them too.

But virtues can fall in and out of favor. We see that the policy requires the virtue to be "broadly respected," and what is broadly respected today may be scorned tomorrow. And what is the breadth of the broad respect required? Madison? The United States? The world? I'm picturing Diversity Elementary School -- if it's Madison.


rhhardin said...

Britney Spears Elementary School.

Ann Althouse said...

I think you mean Anna Nicole Elementary School. Check out the policy! Human beings must be dead.

AllenS said...

Taser-boy Andrew Meyer Elementary School. The government must have killed him by now.

EnigmatiCore said...

Britney Spears' Career Elementary School then.

A broadly respected civic virtue? How about either the Madison School of Speaking Truth To Power, or the Madison School of Anarchistic Resistance?

jane said...

Name the school after the Samurai code that values honesty, respect, rectitude, courage, honor, loyalty, frugality, benevolence and the good warrior. Bushidō Elementary has the advantage of sounding both multicultural and Republican.

Anti-PC jujutsu should be a broadly respected civic virtue.

Edgehopper said...

I prefer to think of what the school's team name and mascots would have to be. The Diversity School Justices? Their mascot would be a team of 5 old folks in black robes. Is it any sillier than the UPenn Quaker, or my high school's rival, the University School Preppers (their mascot is a cartoonish boy in a suit and tie)

Pogo said...

1. Entirely Inoffensive Elementary School (Join us to cheer on our LGBT mixed gender football squad, the Nonviolent Pablums this Friday at 4!)

2. Self Esteem High School (competitive sports disallowed -We're all winners here!!!)

3. Boys are Stupid Throw Rocks at Them Girls Academy

4. Oppressed Activists Charter School (came to our annual fall bake sale and effigy burning, this year featuring Bush in an SUV!!)

5. The Philippe Rousseau Building (Because Montessori is too restrictive, we have developed this open model. Show up when you want! Set your own course schedule ...or don't! Get a certificate in World of Warcraft! This Friday we'll liberate the animals from the University labs ..for credit! -remember to bring your wirecutters- and on Saturday come cheer on our Fightin' Compassionate Misanthropes in soccer ...or baseball, whatever they decide is cool with us!)

Pogo said...


3. Boys are Stupid Throw Rocks at Them Grrrls Academy

MadisonMan said...

Do you read the Madison paper more now that you're in Brooklyn?

I think Soglin Elementary is inevitable, 'tho he's not dead yet. That it will be out in sprawl land is slightly ironic. However, the broadly respected civic virtue for Madison must surely lead to Debate Elementary School. Nothing happens without debate in Madison.

Jim said...

Climate Change Awareness Elementary School

Tim said...

"...or for an idea or concept that represents a broadly respected civic virtue."

Pathet Lao Elementary Re-School. No age restrictions, as the Revolution has lots of work to do.

jane said...

Call the school Agape Elementary. "We teach unconditional love and minds so open that things fall out."

Michael Reynolds said...

an idea or concept that represents a broadly respected civic virtue.

Patient Queuing Elementary School. (Team name: The Queuers.)

Considerate Merging Elementary School. (Team name: The On-Ramps.)

Tactfully Averted Gaze Elementary School. (Team name: The Baradeis.)

Flattering Lie Elementary School. (Team name: The Husbands.)

Narrow Stance Elementary School. (Team name: The Discreets.)

Ralph said...

Pity the child who must attend Obedience School.

Roger said...

Whirlled Peas Elementary

The Drill SGT said...


For those that don't recognize them, they are the 12 Boy Scout Ideals.

I await a Reverent Middle School

peter hoh said...

Inside Job Elementary School.

MadisonMan said...

Whirled Peas Elementary

I can visualize this.

When the Kohl Center opened here, I really wanted it to be called the Kohliseum. There isn't enough wordplay in the naming of public buildings.

Ron said...

Buffy, the Ignorance Slayer Elementary School.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Reminds me of the little controversy in the 1990s when a school board allowed students to vote for the name of a new school in South Carolina. The students voted for Springfield Elementary, the name of the school in The Simpsons, even though there was no town called Springfield in the vicinity. The board allowed the name to stand over protests from parents.

jane said...

Youth Re-education Center No. 14: "Making Progressive, not progress."

Palladian said...

Dissent Middle School.

Because there's no higher form of patriotism, you know.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Soma Preparatory Academy.

Preparing you to face the brave new world. Theme song: Don't Worry, Be Happy.

hdhouse said...


I went to Van Cleve in Dayton named after a city founder, Colerain in Cincinnati named after the township, Riverside in Grand Rapids after the river obviously, Washington in Bay City after George and Central HS because it was. .. Just how hard is it to not make this an issue?

bill said...

Umami Elementary School.

"...umami itself is subtle. It blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavours."

Pogo said...

If one actually wanted boys to attend, try
The Dread Pirate Roberts School for Boys

What 10 year old lad could resist?

MadisonMan said...

My two elementary schools were named after the streets the schools were on. Ditto for my kids' two elementary schools here in Madison (Franklin and Randall). My middle school was named after the street it was on, too. It really does make them easy to find on a map.

In contrast, I have no clue what street Gompers Elementary is on, or Chavez. Lapham Elementary is nowhere near Lapham Street. That is so wrong.

Peter Palladas said...

"an idea or concept that represents a broadly respected civic virtue."

Our Lady of Whatever Secondary has just opened for business. Strong competition though from The Ree-spect Academy, and St. Dunno's is also a contender.

Rolls are low in all three currently, as neither parents nor pupils can be arsed to get out of bed.

On the other hand, local Madrasahs with colourful Arabic names such as 'Naked Hate for Everything Western' or 'Die and Let Bomb' are packed.

Paddy O. said...

I think it imperialistic to name schools at all. Why should someone's preferred historical figure or value or notion of "virtue" be chosen as superior to another?

We are insisting these impressionable children take up the chosen name, forcing it upon them, taking away, in essence, their identity and moral freedom.

I would suggest using numbers, but numbers are used as a hierarchical system of judgment. School 139 would be assumed superior to School 147, and no amount of personal achievement or effort by the students of School 147 could change this. They would be psychologically damaged and likely drift to less fulfilling careers while the students of School 5 would all become doctors and astronauts.

We need to drop names altogether and just call every school "school". The confusion this might cause would be made up by the joy of equality and the freedom of self-identity formation.

SGT Ted said...

The thing is, the phrase "broadly respected civic virtue", as applied by a Government run school, guarantees that it will be a leftwing one.

Pogo said...

That's it!!

Broadly Respected Civic Virtue High School!

John Stodder said...

John Bunyan would love to come back now to see this happen.

Watchful High School
Prudence Junior High
Piety Elementary
Land of Beulah University

nick danger said...

Loyalty Elementary
Duty Middle School
Respect Public High School
Selfless Service Community College
Honor Technical School
Integrity University
Personal Courage School of Continuing Education

jane said...

"Chastity." Works for social cons and the Bono GLBT crowd, too.

blake said...

No mention of the Seven Virtues?

Chastity, Abstinence, Liberality, Diligence, Patience, Kindness and Humility?

JohnGalt said...

"broadly respected civic virtue" - down here the broads aren't respected and have little virtue

Pogo said...

At my daughter's college, these are the names a few of the newer dorms:


No kidding.

Michael_H said...

"an idea or concept that represents a broadly respected civic virtue."

The Well Manicured Front Lawn Elementary School.

Go Mowers!!

Kirk said...

Wny not take a tip from the British of yesteryear, and call it Indefatigable or Indomitable?

Oh, wait--those aren't virtues any more, are they?


LOL! I'd extend it further, and claim that there's not enough word play in public anything--though last weekend I did make acquaintance, for the first time, with that wonderful New Jersey license plate with the lighthouse and the motto "Shore to Please".

Mr. Forward said...

Free Beer Elementary.

MadisonMan said...

these are the names a few of the newer dorms:



UW-Madison just opened some new dorms as well, Newell Smith and New Ogg. Named after actual people at the University, I think.