Is History Stunting the Growth of the Future?

“Giving Education a Bad Name”, when I first read the title of this article I was slightly angered because I went to a high school called Lee-Davis, and our mascot was the confederates. I feel like I have received a fair and overall good education and so have the black students in my school. The name of the school has nothing to do with what was learned inside the classrooms. In order to be a successful student, you have to work hard and that has nothing to do with race. I decided to take a step back, though, and continue reading the article, despite my initial thoughts of it.


The article I found online, to use as a source, is called “Giving Education a Bad Name.” This piece is written by Andrew Rotherham. The article goes into depth about how confederacy named schools should be forced to change their names if the education of the students is lessened due to the name. He also goes on explaining that it is “awkward” to make black students attend high school with the names of leaders of the confederacy who fought for slavery. Recently the confederate flag has been a hot topic in the media. This also correlates with if confederate named schools should also be changed. My wiki article is about my old school, Lee Davis High School, and information about what changes might be taking place in the next few years about the name and mascot.

I found this article using the google search engine. The title interested me, and it was the very first one I clicked on. It led me to a U.S. news article site that contains many issues that large new stations wouldn’t report. The author decides to make a correlation between the qualities of education from schools and names from the confederate army. This article would be a good source of information to show how the name might impact the education of the black students, and if that is the case, then it is violating the right to an equal public education.

After using a Voyant tool to see what the most common words were used I have noticed a repetition with the words students and confederate. There doesn’t seem to be a complexity of vocabulary within the text, making it easy to read for all types of age groups and educational level. There is an absence in the words “we” and “us”, which leads me to believe he doesn’t have a biased view in which he includes himself.  He includes in his bio at the end that he is part of an educational equality organization, which it meant to show the audience that he has credibility and correct information about this topic.Screenshot (5)

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The author starts the article off by using pathos that describes how the making black students attend a school in which the name is of a historical figure that fought to allow slavery. This brings to attention immediately on how it might make students feel uncomfortable, which plays into the emotions of the audience. I personally felt guilt and sympathy towards this side, because it isn’t something I would have thought of at first. This is clearly done with an intentional purpose to call attention to the issue that is being discussed by the author. Later on, he states how many students often feel embarrassed by the name of their old high school. The author explains that this shouldn’t be the case, and that people shouldn’t have to feel ashamed. By picking out emotions of students who have had to go through school with a confederate name builds his credibility in the sources that he used. The most reliable source on how the name affects others is indeed the students themselves. This leads us to our next rhetoric tool, ethos.

Aristotle believes ethos is the most important tool when explaining anything, whether it be an argument or a persuasive essay. The article is only as strong as the information and the credibility of the author. In Rotherham’s bio at the very end he gives his readers clues to show that he is indeed a reliable source “Andrew Rotherham is a cofounder and partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit organization working to support educational innovation and improve educational outcomes for high-need students.”(Rotherham)  This shows that he cares for all students and their education. I believe that because he is in the organization it does make him a credible source of information, because he has probably seen firsthand how the names of schools have impacted the level of education the student has received.

The logic behind why someone might change the name of a confederate named school does seem quite simple. He explains that the name simply does in fact deter the education of some students. Since we are all given the equal opportunity of education, why should students forfeit the comfort of their own education for the history? The author uses the NAACP to explain that according to them the names of schools are under a category of “special circumstances”, compared to the naming of historical landmarks and statues. The logical compromise that is proposed is that if the education of the students drops and lessens, than the name should change. By not fully agreeing the one side, this allows both sides of the argument to “win.”

The author successfully shows both sides of the impact of the name of the school on the students. He offers a compromise and a solution, without forfeiting the education of the students. This article not only provides a good source of information to the wiki I plan on writing, but also overall it really makes you think of the impact that it has on students. It made me realize that maybe the name does actually affect black students, and that I was too ignorant to believe that my school’s name actually does impact people and their education. If that is the case, then this article reinforces the idea that the history of enslavement shouldn’t be honored. This doesn’t mean that we should completely try to erase history, but if the history is impacting  student’s education, then we should take a step back and take that into account rather than becoming defensive.


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