Education Week - January 23, 2019 - C1

Education Week
VOL. 38, NO. 19 * JANUARY 23, 2019

AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2019 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 6


Pride vs. Prejudice in Schools Honoring Segregationists
A Jim Crow Era Vestige
Lingers in Eight States

Gerry Melendez for Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Students in Johnston, S.C., walk past a portrait of the late Strom Thurmond, their school's namesake and long-time U.S. senator who prominently
opposed school integration. After black families decades ago fought to shed Thurmond's name, a state law passed to make the name permanent.

A Community
Wrestled With
Legacy of a
High School's

By Corey Mitchell
Edgefield County, S.C.

Hundreds of teenagers-black, white, Latino, and
Asian-walk past a portrait of Strom Thurmond each
day at the high school that bears his name.
By their own accounts, the students don't think much
about Thurmond, the former school district superintendent and one of South Carolina's foremost statesmen
and segregationists-or the long-ago fight over the
school's name that roiled this rural community.
The school's homecoming courts are racially diverse
and so is the award-winning mock trial team.
The Rebel Regiment marching band, once renowned

for playing "Dixie" at football games, is now led by a
black director.
At one time, the "Rebels" mascot and the song, the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy, might have seemed
like a good fit for Strom Thurmond High School.
The school was nearly all-white before a late 1960s
federal desegregation order brought hundreds of black
students to the campus from Edgefield County's school
for "colored children.".
In the fall of 1970, dozens of those black students
quit the marching band, football team, and cheerleading squad in protest against the song, the school's nickname, and the tradition of waving the Confederate flag
PAGE 11 >

About a two-hour drive south of Atlanta, in
the city of Warner Robins, there's an elementary school named for Richard B. Russell, Georgia's longtime and powerful U.S. senator who
died in 1971.
In a 1936 re-election campaign for the
Senate, Russell, a Democrat, called America "a white man's country," and stressed his
willingness to make sacrifices to "preserve
and insure white supremacy." Two decades
later, he made his opposition to the racial
desegregation of schools very public. And in
1964, he criticized the Civil Rights Act for
overturning the separate-but-equal model
in the South that aimed to solve "the problem of two races living side by side without
eventual amalgamation and mongrelization
of both."
As of two years ago, according to the most
recent federal data, four out of 10 students
at the school memorializing him were black.
If you drive roughly 400 miles west of
Warner Robins, you'll reach Vardaman High
School in Vardaman, Miss. Both the school-
where about 13 percent of the students are
black-and the town are named after James
K. Vardaman, a Mississippi governor and
U.S. senator in the early 20th century. He
once declared in a speech that, if necessary,
"Every Negro in the state will be lynched" in
order to maintain white supremacy. And on
the subject of educating black children, Vardaman stated, "The only effect of Negro education is to spoil a good field hand and make
an insolent cook."
Schools and other public structures that
memorialize leaders of the Confederacy
have gained intense attention and generated
fierce arguments recently-Education Week
has found 180 named after Confederates.
But there's another category of schools that
raises similar issues about racial sensitivity
while seldom attracting the same scrutiny:
schools named after post-Civil War politiPAGE 11 >

Teachers Missing Out on Flood of K-12 Cash
By Daarel Burnette II
The push to boost teacher pay was
a big factor in the flood of money
states pumped into school districts in
recent years, but much of that money
has been soaked up by competing
school budget priorities, rather than
landing in teachers' pockets.
That's drawing the ire of a growing number of teacher activists
across the country-and frustrating governors and legislators who
are looking to deliver on campaign
promises they made to make statewide teacher pay increases.

Since the end of the recession in
2009, many states have increased
K-12 spending. Last year, for example, states provided more than
$294.8 billion in K-12 dollars, a
4 percent increase from last year.
But the average teacher pay in 39
states declined between 2010 and
2016, according to the Center on
Budget and Policy Priorities, a think
tank that pushes for more education
In the vast majority of states, new
money that comes from the state is
mostly subject to district officials'

In many cases, chief financial officers, superintendents, and school
board members have decided to use
the extra cash to pay down pension
obligations, backfill support staff
laid off during the recession, or hire
more teachers to decrease class
sizes. Districts can ill-afford to give
teachers across-the-board raises,
administrators in states including
Washington and Wisconsin, have
told teachers.
"There are a lot of news stories
and a lot of buzz around teacher
pay, and many state policymakPAGE 17 >

Morgan Lieberman for Education Week

Funding Boosts Get Soaked Up by Competing District Priorities

As the massive teacher strike continued into its second week in Los Angeles,
schools remain open and, in many cases, principals have taken over teaching
duties. PAGE 6 >

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