Monroe School Name Change Petition

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wrote on July 11, 2018 at 10:16 pm:
Some thoughts on why Monroe School should NOT be renamed... Who among us does not have something in our past that we would prefer our acquaintances and friends not use as the sole basis of assessing our worth as a human being? James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, was a man of many accomplishments--many of which were critical to making our country what it is today. He served as a soldier in the American Revolutionary War and was wounded in the Battle of Trenton; he was instrumental in negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, adding 828,000 square miles to the United States; and he served as Secretary of State and Secretary of War under President James Madison during the War of 1812, which finalized our independence from Great Britain. As President, he concluded treaties which extend the reach of the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific and he promulgated the Monroe Doctrine, stopping any further European colonization efforts in North or South America. Castigating James Monroe for the moral values of his time is absurd, an egregious example of presentism, insisting on applying modern values and concepts to past people and events. Moreover, there is risk in expunging references to historical realities. As Winston Churchill said, "Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Renaming because of someone's discomfort is a slippery slope--where does it stop? Four of our first five Presidents owned slaves: Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. Should Washington, D.C., Washington State, Washington High School in Minneapolis, Jefferson Avenue in Saint Paul (which runs a few blocks from Monroe School), Jefferson City, Missouri (that state's capitol city), Madison, Wisconsin (that state's capitol city), and many more all be renamed? What about our currency? Should Washington be removed from the quarter and one-dollar bill? Should Jefferson be removed from the nickel and the two-dollar bill? Should Madison be removed from the $5000 bill? Thinking that a name change will improve the academic achievement of African American children is like putting frosting on cardboard and believing that it is cake. Just a few of the problems that need addressing first are: • Parenting - If parents do not value education and communicate this to their children, no name change is going to cause their children to value education. • Role Models - African Americans have achieved success in many areas (not just sports). Children need to be taught about these people. Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court and inventors George Washington Carver and Lewis Howard Latimer are just a few examples. • Peer Pressure - As long as it is "too white to study", there will be underperformance among African American children.