News

District seeks names for Jordan, Terman middle schools

Committee to recommend names to school board in March

Now is the time for the public to weigh in on ideas for new names for Palo Alto's Jordan and Terman middle schools, which will be renamed next year due to their namesakes' advocacy of eugenics.

A new committee convened this fall to oversee the renaming process is seeking nominations from the community, the district announced Thursday. The committee will submit its own list of recommended names to the school board in March.

The school board voted unanimously to rename the two middle schools this spring, following the majority recommendation of a previous district committee that researched the issue of renaming for many months. The district picked up the issue after a grassroots campaign, sparked by a seventh-grader's book report on David Starr Jordan's involvement in eugenics, an early 20th-century movement that promoted the reproduction of genetic traits of particular races over others.

The renaming question drew divisions between those in the community who felt it was inappropriate and even harmful to name public schools after men who promoted a racist ideology and those who wanted to preserve years of local history tied to the existing names.

The school board will make the ultimate decision on the schools' new names and is bound by policy on what kinds of names they can choose.

Under board policy, district facilities can be named after individuals, living or deceased, and entities that have made "outstanding" contributions, including financial contributions, to the school community; have statewide, national, or worldwide significance; or the geographic area in which the school is located.

The board previously stipulated that they will not consider names with the words "Jordan" or "Terman."

People can submit name ideas online through Jan. 22 at pausd.org. Hard copy forms are also available at public libraries and at all Palo Alto Unified schools.

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Comments

104 people like this
Posted by Don't. Compound this mistake
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 21, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Please don't compound this egregious waste of time and money by naming it after a person. It will only invite further divisiveness, wasted time by school officials and possible future changes as skeletons come out of the closet. Sierra, oak, loco moco anything but a person!!


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 21, 2017 at 4:05 pm

PC-4now


42 people like this
Posted by Weekly Reader
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 21, 2017 at 4:34 pm

How about just going with East and West? And we can complete the job by changing JLS to Central?

Aside from being a robber baron, Leland Stanford chimed in thus on Chinese immigration in his 1862 Gubernatorial inaugural address, "There can be no doubt but that the presence of numbers among us of a degraded and distinct people must exercise a deleterious influence upon the superior race.... It will afford me great pleasure to concur with the Legislature in any constitutional action, having for its object the repression of the immigration of the Asiatic races."

Hey, renaming Jacobins, how did you miss that one? Anti-Asian sentiment not high on your list of concerns these days? How many Asians were on that committee? None you say? That makes sense - the district students are only about 50% Asian!


42 people like this
Posted by Suggestion
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 21, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Since it's open to any public suggestion: Boaty McBoatface


26 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Agree with the sentiment to avoid naming schools after persons. At various times in my life, I've been forced to attend schools named after persons that I disliked.


51 people like this
Posted by Weekly Reader
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 21, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Forgot to mention - Governor Leland Stanford also signed the Anti-Coolie Act of 1862, an act "To Protect Free White Labor against competition with Chinese Coolie Labor and to Discourage the Immigration of Chinese into the State of California." Go Stanford!

Of course, the middle school is named after his wife, not him - she's not exactly a close relation, though, right? And of course, she was deservedly famous and accomplished in her own right, as, um, let's see, she did take control of the university after her husband died, right? And she did contribute to bringing about tenure for university faculty by firing a professor for his views, creating a national scandal taken up by the AAUP. So that's a fine joint legacy for a middle school to be named after.


47 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 21, 2017 at 6:13 pm

"The board previously stipulated that they will not consider names with the words 'Jordan' or 'Terman."

Ridiculous. Should just keep the names, but not affiliate them with anyone. History is history, and we should respect the names for the sake of the alumni.


27 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 21, 2017 at 6:16 pm

South Palo Alto, Central Palo Alto, and North Palo Alto are the best choices for all three middle schools. Cannot name after a person or someone will protest in the future. I'm sure there are some unearthed skeletons for JLS. Geographical location also makes it easier to identify.


9 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Dear "Weekly Reader": I will happily make an exception to my rule for Stanford, since it is, properly, Leland Stanford Junior University, named for the beloved Stanford child who sadly died at a young age before he had the opportunity to commit some of the same sins as his father.

Web Link.



83 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 21, 2017 at 7:06 pm

I vote to keep the old names. Of course, what does it matter if the majority of residents would prefer that? Why should people who are supposed to represent us actually represent us? After all, this is California.


82 people like this
Posted by Mble
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Why is renaming the schools such a high priority given other issues to be dealt with such as budgets, sexual harassment, student mental health issues?


32 people like this
Posted by Weekly Reader
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 21, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Exactly. In fact, the renaming committee is EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN from suggesting the prior names, over even the name of Fred Terman. Good to know the schools are supporting freedom of thought and expression!


23 people like this
Posted by Resume Building
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 21, 2017 at 8:25 pm

[Post removed.]


20 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 21, 2017 at 8:58 pm


Can't name them south or central because those students would feel inferior to those in the north. Play it safe and name them after a color.

What a sad mess...


76 people like this
Posted by Building Snowflakes
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 21, 2017 at 8:58 pm

PAUSD is contributing to the Snowflake Generation, teaching our children to be offended, outspoken, and disrespect others. Participation trophies, dividing up the pinata candy and redistributing fairly, etc. is for other parents' children.

Mine know how to compete, get along with others, be nice, let things go when need be, and work hard for success. The Snowflakes will be failures who will live off their parents' nest eggs.


129 people like this
Posted by Jordan Teacher
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 21, 2017 at 9:13 pm

This is without a doubt the biggest Political Correctness nightmare I have ever seen since I have been at Jordan. Trust me, the majority of kids at Jordan could care less about this Jordan re-naming and this is just the biggest waste of money I have ever seen!

Basically we are telling all the generations of kids that have gone through Jordan they were ignorant in not re-naming Jordan and that this P.C. generation 1BWgets it and has all the answers.

All humans have demons or short comings, that is what makes us human. Now we need to re-name Washington D.C. because Washington had slaves right?

WOW this is embarrassing! and not to mention all the wasted money on this P.C. garbage.

Palo Alto is a fantastic place to work but sometimes bows down way to much to the loud very, very few!

This is the worst thing I have seen in my long tenure at Jordan and very sad.

Building Snowflakes makes lots of sense but it is only a few, not a lot of kids or families.


50 people like this
Posted by Weekly Reader
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 21, 2017 at 9:55 pm

Jordan Teacher - off to re-education camp with you! You need to get woke!

My favorite example is at Harvard, where for generations the faculty heads of their upper class dorms were called "House Masters," after analogous positions at Cambridge and Oxford. All of a sudden, the woke generation realized that calling them Masters evoked the horrible nightmare of slavery (that none had experienced, but they can imagine it, right?). "Masters" wasn't an old-fashioned British university term - it was offensive, triggering, and racist - it must go! The Masters themselves readily agreed (they ain't dumb, I give them that) and now are called something else. Phew, that's a relief.

I guess Masters of Arts, Masters of Science, concert masters, court special masters, the Masters Golf Tournament, Dutch Masters, Master Limited Partnerships, and even Aziz Ansari's clever TV show "Master of None," all inflicting psychological harm by their very existence, should also be quickly renamed. These names are HURTING PEOPLE - don't you UNDERSTAND?!

Let's get busy, Renaming Committee - there's a lot of work to do!


19 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 21, 2017 at 10:17 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

Let's focus on this to distract everyone from the actual harm being done to students by keeping Diorio et al employed. Let's do some more feel good stuff while the administration neglects the harrassment of students.

Good job school board


11 people like this
Posted by Weekly Reader
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 21, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Why this cis-directional bias? If "North" is so good, let's rotate - first we'll call Jordan North, then next year Terman can be North, and then JLS. That way, everyone has a chance to be North! WE decide what North is, not some dead white European male geographer!

When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

Exactly. Welcome to Wonderland.


15 people like this
Posted by Alan S
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm

Before the name Jordan and Terman were just associated with the school, so I who they were named after didn't really matter. But since political correctness demands that we change the name lets get on with it.

My primary suggestion is don't name it after any politician. I would instead name it after someone related to science, and since we have plenty of Nobel prize winners in the area might as well chose a name from that list.


I selected from deceased Nobel Prize winner that were at Stanford when they won the prize. So here are my two suggestions and the reasons.

#1) Hofstadter Middle School.

Robert Hofstadter
won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1961 studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his consequent discoveries concerning the structure of nucleons"
National Medal of Science in 1986
Dirac Award 1987

Web Link

Here is also the father of Palo Alto born Douglas Hofstadter who wrote the fabulous book "Godel, Escher, Bach". Douglas is still a professor of Stanford doing work on cognitive science.

Web Link

I think every kid in high school or college should read the "GEB" book. For that reason I would suggest just calling the middle school by it's last name, and also encourage kids (knowing the link to the school) to read that classic.


My other suggestion is:

Martin Perl middle school.

He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in - 1995 for discovering the tau particle. (3rd generation electron).

This is his wiki-page.
Web Link








Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 22, 2017 at 12:51 am

john_alderman is a registered user.

Marissa Mayer Middle School has nice alliteration.


4 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 22, 2017 at 6:15 am

No more Jordan Germs?!?! Bummer.


11 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2017 at 7:16 am

PS1 and PS2 like some NYC schools


18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2017 at 8:32 am

Since my very respectful post suggesting that we don't call the schools over any person living or dead as we have no idea what may make them "undesirable" in the future, I am disappointed that this cannot be discussed in an adult fashion.

Thanks to those who "liked" my thoughts. It seems you respect the ability to be treated like responsible adults and not the childish situation that has been forced upon us.


40 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 22, 2017 at 11:45 am

@ Alan - no to Hofstadter! Too risky! Since his offspring in still local academia, if the son (heaven forbid! clutch pearls) were ever to be accused by anyone of sexual harassment or professional gender-bias, the name of the school would have to be changed AGAIN!

Naming schools by color could be very offensive too - can't possibly call anything brown, yellow, red, black or white. "Lavender" is out as it's been long associated as a gay euphemism, thus offending the LGBT group. No to "blue" -suggests blue-blooded, "green" implies inexperienced. Pink is clearly a Celtic skin color. Maybe taupe but not tan. Puce?

To be consistent, PA better get busy changing street names too - get rid of Jefferson, Washington, Mark Twain, Webster, Hamilton, and dozens more. Lord Lytton was a terrible racist. Junipero Serra gets the hook. I could go on but this is already too ridiculous.

I agree with everything said by the Jordan teacher & think this whole flap is absurd [portion removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Stick to fictional characters. Their lives are tightly controlled. To be extra safe, use well-vetted minor characters created by deceased authors.


64 people like this
Posted by Jordan Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm

I voted NO to renaming schools, together with the majority of Jordan parents. Apparently, the district did not care [portion removed.]

Yesterday, I told my son who is in his last year at Jordon, that for the rest of his life he can proudly say that he was a student at JORDAN MIDDLE!!!

You betrayed our kids for the sake of political correctness, PAUSD board.


6 people like this
Posted by Dauber
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 22, 2017 at 1:04 pm

[Post removed.]


30 people like this
Posted by Incompetence
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 22, 2017 at 1:08 pm

Palo Alto’s ineffectual school board won’t confront the difficult issues in our schools, such as sexual harassment and assault. The renaming of schools should be a low priority on the list of problems that need to be addressed. Palo Alto schools aren’t what they used to be. The community is just beginning to realize it.


14 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2017 at 1:17 pm

All the sarcasm regarding "political correctness" is overlooking the fact that Lewis Terman was controversial from back in his own day until the present, because of these very issues. Here is an article from the July/August 2000 Stanford Alumni magazine which covers many of these issues.

Web Link

Terman wasn't just a scientist. He had a much broader agenda, as described in the article, and, it engendered a lot of debate. From the article:

"IQ tests and the social agenda of their advocates roused critics right from the start. To the journalist Walter Lippmann, the intelligence-testers were "the Psychological Battalion of Death," seizing unparalleled power over every child's future. Lippmann and Terman dueled in the pages of the New Republic in 1922 and 1923."

David Starr Jordan is a somewhat different case. Besides being heavily involved in eugenics, he also has another kind of vexing legacy. Again, from the Stanford Alumni magazine:

Web Link

This being Palo Alto, why don't we name our schools after trees rather than people?


12 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 22, 2017 at 1:24 pm

This particular concession to "political correctness" will be be replaced in a few years by some other cause celebre dreamed up by a parent wanting to help his kid make a statement. It's actually helpful to study the past & learn from its mistakes. Read Condi Rice's expressed opinion about removing Confederate statues -she was not in favor.


7 people like this
Posted by Roger
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 22, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Dear Alan S.
The schools are already named after scientists.
Ones who made Palo Alto into the town it now is.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Posted by Chip:

"This particular concession to "political correctness" will be be replaced in a few years by some other cause celebre dreamed up by a parent wanting to help his kid make a statement. It's actually helpful to study the past & learn from its mistakes. Read Condi Rice's expressed opinion about removing Confederate statues -she was not in favor."

You can certainly make a case -against- renaming in some cases, such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Here is a photo of President Barack Obama walking across it alongside President George W. Bush, in March, 2015. (It seems so long ago.).

Web Link

If they changed the name, people might have trouble finding this monument to the Civil Rights movement. And, the person it was named for, was precisely why it was chosen for its high visibility role. It was named, of course, after Edmund Winston Pettus, a former Confederate brigadier general, U.S. Senator from Alabama, and Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. [Wikipedia].



32 people like this
Posted by A Rose by any other name
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 22, 2017 at 3:16 pm

We could go for Women’s names….

Toby "Winema" Riddle
After marrying a gold miner, Modoc woman, Riddle mediated negotiations between her tribe and the United States during the Modoc War in Northern California. Riddle was one of the first women acknowledged by Congress for her actions in time of war. She also alerted the peace commission of a Modac attack and saved the life of chairman, Alfred Meacham, while in the process of being scalped at the negotiations.


Dr. Elizabeth Follansbee
Follansbee was Southern California's first woman physician and helped found the Children's Hospital of San Francisco. After moving to Los Angeles, Follansbee became the first woman member of Los Angeles County Medical Association and taught pediatrics at the University of Southern California.


Lawyer Clara Foltz
Clara Foltz, an advocate for the women's voting rights movement, was not only the first female lawyer on the west coast, but the first woman in the United States to become deputy attorney of the public defenders office and the first woman to run for governor of California. Foltz helped author the Women's Vote Amendment in California, wrote the Woman Lawyer's Bill and published columns in San Diego newspapers until her death.

Dolores Huerta
Working as an elementary school teacher in the Stockton school district, Huerta observed that her students, many the children of farm workers, were living in poverty. Huerta decided to work to improve social and economic conditions along with fighting against the discrimination of farm workers by forming the Agricultural Workers Association.


Alice Park
Suffragist Alice Park was the founder of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Park is most notable for writing the California law that granted women equal rights of guardianship over their children in 1913.


31 people like this
Posted by Insulted
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2017 at 4:28 pm

As a graduate of Jordan years ago (it was a great school then), it just amazes me of the waste of public time and money on this PC effort on the behalf of PC Palo Alto. Wait until the PC crowd is challenged by names like "Kennedy" a family so associated with sexual rape and harassment (of and yes Ted's murder of an innocent women) and the like - just what will they do? Yes there will be others in the net, but how will they deal with those like the Kennedy's - certainly there will be a Bill Clinton school in Palo Alto, why not for Jordan. It would be a great discussion!


32 people like this
Posted by DTN
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Donald Trump Middle School


9 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2017 at 6:42 pm

Insulted wrote:

"it just amazes me of the waste of public time and money on this PC effort on the behalf of PC Palo Alto. Wait until the PC crowd is challenged by names like "Kennedy" a family so associated with sexual rape and harassment (of and yes Ted's murder of an innocent women) and the like - just what will they do? [...]. It would be a great discussion!"

"PC" is getting to be a rather overused insult, don't you think? As for the time and money being spent on the issue -- educating people about important history is worth a lot of time and money. "Insulted"-- have you actually read the short biographies of Terman and Jordan that I posted links to -- in a Stanford publication, "of all places". As for Kennedy (and Clinton, and ...), I don't suppose that you think that Democrats have a monopoly on sexual harassment, surely? Come to think of it, some people said a concern about it was "PC" in the last Presidential election. Is it relevant or not?

But, if your point is that any person will be found to have serious issues-- how about we start using other sources for school names? Then we don't have to worry about the names being perceived as partisan.


1 person likes this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of University South
on Dec 22, 2017 at 11:33 pm

North Middle School and South Middle School.


20 people like this
Posted by SelfNamed
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 23, 2017 at 7:36 am

Objects name themselves... so I recommend:

"Stop Harrassing Our Children Middle School"

Or

"Gladiator Pit Middle School"

Or (if you prefer): "Colliseum Middle School"

Really captures the spirit with which students are treated at Jordan.


29 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Ignore the politicians and internet trolls. Let the teachers nominate and vote for new names. They can research the name and make sure it represents the values that they are trying to teach our children.


26 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2017 at 8:32 pm

Many feel this this renaming will NOT:

- Make our middle school students better educated,
- Solve the sex harassment/bullying/etc issues
- Solve the budget problems
- Make our middle school students better community citizens

So what is the point, other to satisfy a special interest group of parents who want to relive their youth or believe they are a victim of one thing or another?


11 people like this
Posted by stanhutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 24, 2017 at 2:09 am

stanhutchings is a registered user.

I'll say it again, if the school names have SO MUCH influence on students, name them after VIRTUES we wish to imbue in the students. It's some kind of psycho-babble wishful thinking, but it's going to be PC and we can all feel good about having accomplished something (nothing really significant, but that's beside the point). Just PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take the advice above, and DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES name it after a person, living or dead. Grace? Integrity? Honesty? Charity? Curiosity? Generosity? Responsibility? I wish the students could be imbued with any or all of those virtues.


28 people like this
Posted by DES
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 24, 2017 at 8:34 am

Fred Terman IS the undisputed father of silicon valley. As a college professor at a not very significant west coast university in a sleepy little unremarkable college town surrounded by farms and orchards, he's the engineering professor who coached and inspired Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard and the Varian brothers that they did not need to take a corporate job in the middle of the depression but could dare to start a company from scratch. Spinoffs from those two companies populated silicon valley and sparked entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the world, No, we SHOULD NOT encourage our children to make a difference, to support, inspire and encourage others or to change the world as Fred Terman did. We should teach them, at all times, to conform to the changing winds political correctness at all times and never stand for anything except what ever cause or creed is in at the moment.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 24, 2017 at 8:35 am

I would echo Stan Hutchings comments. We cannot possibly go through this again if we have to go through it now.

Please consider something vanilla or inspiring, but definitely not name the school after any one particular individual.


26 people like this
Posted by Just Jordan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 25, 2017 at 1:17 pm

My kid is in 7th grade in Jordan. We haven't heard any kids care about the name. Just change to Jordan if you want. I will vote for Jordan. It's such a waste of money to change the name. Use the fund for the field trips, for arts & music programs, not for this stupid task.


12 people like this
Posted by Jordan 1970
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 25, 2017 at 5:24 pm

I would be shocked if you can find anyone who has an unkind word to say about Frederick Terman, fils. By all accounts he was a good guy, an icon in the history of the industry and the region which so many flock to seeking to strike it rich. Yet Palo Alto, in its obsession with political correctness and sanitizing history, would deny Terman, fils a well-deserved commemoration because of guilt by association with his father.

Is this the kind of city my home town has become? Hasn't Palo Alto got bigger fish to fry?


8 people like this
Posted by Jordan 1970
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 25, 2017 at 5:54 pm

A Rose by any other name: none of the women you named had any connection with Palo Alto, direct or indirect.


20 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 25, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Perhaps the schools should be renamed...
Forced Political Correctness as Defined by a Few #1
Forced Political Correctness as Defined by a Few #2


13 people like this
Posted by Jordan 1970
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 25, 2017 at 7:02 pm

"Perhaps the schools should be renamed...
Forced Political Correctness as Defined by a Few #1
Forced Political Correctness as Defined by a Few #2"

No good. It creates a hierarchy and the pupils in #2 will grow up with an inferiority complex.


4 people like this
Posted by Sad, very sad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 25, 2017 at 7:59 pm

@resident
No, we can't "Let the teachers nominate and vote for new names. They can research the name and make sure it represents the values that they are trying to teach our children."
As the selfprofessed Jordan Teacher in this thread has clearly demonstrated, he and some of our teachers along with everyone on this thread have either not read the RSAC report, or are hopelessly out of touch with the school district values and vision.

As @Anon has shown, a little research into David Starr Jordan and Lewis Terman goes a long way in this debate ...


46 people like this
Posted by Arrogant, very arrogant
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 25, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Who's hopelessly out of touch? No one ever even asked the community what they wanted,certainly not the RSAC. There is little doubt that the majority feel like Jordan Teacher. This is a non issue driven by a small number of parents, with virtually no impact on kids. [Portion removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 25, 2017 at 9:47 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

I believe it would be helpful to hear from Stanford as to whether the eugenicist values represented by the educational program of David Starr Jordan, Lewis Terman and Ellwood Cubberley are a good match for Palo Alto Public Schools. Maybe town skeptics will pay more heed to the criticisms if they hear them coming from Stanford scholars.

Comments on this thread suggest that many who feel free to continue attacking the motives and credibility of those who proposed changing the names have either not bothered to inform themselves about eugenics or, alternatively, still believe in the racist, elitist, biological determinist beliefs of the Eugenicist movement. They do not represent the ideas and values of Palo Alto and its schools, no matter how loudly and frequently they object to the contrary.

The names have been withdrawn for cause. It's time to choose anew. Many thanks to the committee for helping the school board in this effort.


43 people like this
Posted by Arrogant, very arrogant
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 25, 2017 at 10:21 pm

Jerry, you don't speak for the school district or the community. Sorry. You were on the RSAC, though. Can you explain why they never asked the community if they even wanted to rename the schools? Even though the district did a community survey, they didn't ask that basic question; why not?

I'm not a fan of eugenics, but frankly, changing school names is just a silly farce, and does nothing for the schools or kids. It makes a few arrogant adults happy, yes. But the majority of Palo Altans don't agree - you and the school board just didn't care about that detail.


13 people like this
Posted by DT North
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 25, 2017 at 10:56 pm

how about we vote whether or not to spend all that money needlessly in the next city-wide election? It's not like the kids even learn who David Star Jordan is. Or just Drop the David Star. geez put the money towards something more useful to the kids


11 people like this
Posted by Yes
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 26, 2017 at 1:01 am

Barak Obama Middle School.


43 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 26, 2017 at 7:00 am

Jerry Underdal speculates that those who disagree with him on this issue "alternatively, still believe in the racist, elitist, biological determinist beliefs of the Eugenicist movement."

This kind of calumny and dismissal of those on the other side of the issue betrays an elitist and out of touch mindset. Instead of engaging what those on the other side are saying, he characterizes them as morally repugnant "racists". Not one poster on this thread has expressed any support of eugenics in any way. Not one. "Racist" is usually the resort of those who are losing the arguments on the merits.

No wonder Trump won. I dislike Trump, but if you want more Trump, this is the way you get it.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 26, 2017 at 2:09 pm

DES, Jordan1970:

Terman is named for both Lewis and Frederick Terman, as you can read on the Terman website:

Web Link

If you are proposing dropping Lewis Terman, that should be an easy proposal to implement. Nearly a "no-op". I'm not sure if the board allowed for that possibility, however. But, they could change their minds, I imagine, if there was an outpouring of support for (re)naming Terman as -Frederick Terman Middle School-. That still leaves Jordan.

Regardless, because many people apparently don't actually know the definition, and I've seen some confusion about it, here is the definition of racism from the Merriam-Webster website:

Definition of racism
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 a : a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
b : a political or social system founded on racism
3 : racial prejudice or discrimination


In any case, this discussion has convinced me that many people really don't know the historical significance of the Eugenics movement. From that standpoint, the renaming discussion definitely is not a waste of time. I just wish that some of the more vocal opponents of school renaming would actually read more about the history of the -unscientific- Eugenics social movement.

Web Link

The actual science involved in "eugenics" turned out to be much more complicated and subtle than realized by Galton and his peers, while the potential for social and political mischief turned about to be earth-shattering.


24 people like this
Posted by Local Parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 26, 2017 at 4:29 pm

@Anon, as @Mary said, few if any support either racism or eugenics (why do you capitalize it?). The question is whether this is an issue worth spending time and money on, and, related, whether changing school names has any impact on anyone or anything.

Many, indeed probably most (no one ever bothered to check), feel this is not an issue worth the trouble. Yes, eugenics was confused science (like most science over time), and it led to bad policy (like lots of past policies). Yes, those who promoted it were racists, as were many other prominent people in their time. That's bad, no doubt, and I wouldn't pick them out for recognition today.

But neither Jordan nor L. Terman, as far as I can tell, were recognized by PAUSD when the schools were named for their work in eugenics - they were recognized for their work in building up Stanford, to which the town largely owes its existence. That seems ok, and not worth the trouble to change. Sorry to those offended, hope you can get over it. Next issue please.

I like how @Mary put it - the relatively small group who are driving the renaming (such as @Jerry Underdal, above) accuse those who disagree of being racist (or ignorant!) because they don't share their priorities. This is frustrating and unfair, and ultimately, likely self-defeating since it devalues out the charge of racism.


9 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 26, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Ding Ding Ding we have a winner!

Code Middle School (after computer programming)

Chip Middle School (after microchip)


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Local Parent, a resident of College Terrace, wrote:

>> @Anon, as @Mary said, few if any support either racism or eugenics (why do you capitalize it?).

I like to capitalize proper nouns unnecessarily?

Web Link

I capitalize it when I am referring to the social movement, which behaved almost like an international political party at times. Eugenics was never a science. At times, it was something akin to Nazism. When referring to the "the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population", I don't capitalize it. When referring to the political aspect, I capitalize it. After WWII, many people in the U.S. suddenly forgot how political they were about it-- part of the reason we are having this discussion.

>> The question is whether this is an issue worth spending time and money on, and, related, whether changing school names has any impact on anyone or anything.

See above. To the extent that, in the case of Lewis Terman and Jordan, it was -political-, rather than a hobby, or interest in a conjecture, it is an issue worth revisiting.

>> Yes, those who promoted it were racists, as were many other prominent people in their time. That's bad, no doubt, and I wouldn't pick them out for recognition today.

I look at it like Chopin vs Wagner. Chopin was antisemitic, but, so were many people of his age in his position. Wagner was far more than antisemitic-- Wagner had a political program, antisemitism was part of it-- he tied the two together in "Das Judenthum in der Musik, (Jewishness in Music)". No wonder that nobody in Israel wanted to touch Wagner for many years.

>> But neither Jordan nor L. Terman, as far as I can tell, were recognized by PAUSD when the schools were named for their work in eugenics - they were recognized for their work in building up Stanford, to which the town largely owes its existence. That seems ok, and not worth the trouble to change. Sorry to those offended, hope you can get over it. Next issue please.

I don't agree. Wagner could be recognized as musically innovative, and still, you might not want to name a music school after him.

>> I like how @Mary put it - the relatively small group who are driving the renaming (such as @Jerry Underdal, above) accuse those who disagree of being racist (or ignorant!) because they don't share their priorities. This is frustrating and unfair, and ultimately, likely self-defeating since it devalues out the charge of racism.

I haven't seen the accusations of racism. I have it implied that people are ignorant of the political agendas of Terman and Jordan-- and, many people clearly are. I also think it is an important discussion to have for exactly that reason.


13 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm

This is very sad. Although a student's paper suggesting a name change was good for discussion, the district was not obligated to change the names because of one opinion. If such a change is necessary, is the city of Palo Alto and the state of California going to criticize and demonized planned parenthood for its founder since she too promoted eugenics? This political correctness, but even worse it is hypocritical as the left do not propose any changes to the many heroes they celebrate which had a questionable past or history. President Johnson was given credit for civil rights legislation, but he should also be held accountable for buying the black votes with the offer of free benefits. Johnson stated that the blacks will be voting democrat for the next fifty years because of the promise of welfare. He was right. It is right to bring attention to the horror of eugenics. It is also right to bring attention to the horrors of communism.


8 people like this
Posted by kids
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 27, 2017 at 12:34 pm

I don't think honoring Eugenics and its leaders is a great idea. Parents that do not want to do this are not snowflake or helicopter parents.


14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Racism in the past is just a fact of life. People had a different idea of morality and I am glad it is gone but the fact that it existed can't be ignored.

Father Serra and Christopher Columbus thought they were doing the world a lot of good and by the morality of the time they were. They had no ideas that their lifetime achievements would one day be deemed as racist and unworthy. The fact that they are part of the history that makes America what it is can't be denied. Their hearts were not full of hatred for what they were doing to individual peoples, but they were looking to advance world knowledge or bring what they thought was a better way of life to those they encountered.

Likewise, in the Victorian era, attitudes towards the poor and the sick were not the same as they are today. Sending children out to work to earn money for feeding their families was seen as a good thing to help the poor families, not a judgment against them.

Our morality has changed over the centuries. I don't know where it will lead us by the end of the century, but any one of us may hold views that are considered detrimental to one group or another in times to come.

I have said this many times, but you can't judge history by today's standards. History has to be judged by what was prevalent at the time.

When my middle school student was in Jordan, I seem to remember discussions about dolphins connected with DS Jordan, nothing else.

It is time that we looked at the good in people and remembered them for that. We all have things in our lives that we would be rather not remembered, but that doesn't mean any of us are bad people. I suggest that Terman and Jordan were good people who held some views that were common back in the day and we have moved on from that. We are not here to remember people for their failings, but to remember them for the strengths.

If we name anything after an individual we are going to eventually find something that someone will take offense to. That is because each of us are not perfect and we try to hide our imperfections by looking at the imperfections in others. Instead, lets try to find the good in each other.

Now what were the good things that Jordan and Terman did, before they are forgotten and written off as scum (which the way we are going is all they will be remembered for).


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Posted by David, a resident of Midtown, wrote:

>> is the city of Palo Alto and the state of California going to criticize and demonized planned parenthood for its founder since she too promoted eugenics?

I think there is an interesting point in there about Margaret Sanger if it could get disentangled.

>> This political correctness,

Actually, it isn't. It is political, but, any political opinion that someone else holds that disagrees with yours is not necessarily because of "political correctness".

>> but even worse it is hypocritical as the left do not propose any changes to the many heroes they celebrate which had a questionable past or history.

I chose the Chopin/Wagner example for a reason: as a concrete example, it can be used as a guide for when antisemitism might be a real issue, and not just wallpaper from the times when someone happened to live.


>> Johnson stated that the blacks will be voting democrat for the next fifty years because of the promise of welfare. He was right.

Can you be specific regarding what LBJ quote you are referring to and when and where he said it?


4 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 27, 2017 at 2:02 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Mark Twain Middle school. His comment on School Boards hits the target and we can really discuss race relationships using Huckleberry Finn. That book also describes City Hall and how it could be treated...

Air Jordan

After Trees: Evergreen, Eucalyptus, Cherry ( from the past ), Maple, Locust ( not after the insect, or could be describing the last 50 years ), how about PALO ALTO AND REDWOOD???


3 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 27, 2017 at 3:03 pm

"Our morality has changed over the centuries. I don't know where it will lead us ... "

In any case, creative self-destruction is fascinating to observe real-time.


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 27, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Jordan 1970
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 27, 2017 at 5:13 pm

How about a book burning of every book that mentions David Starr Jordan or Lewis Terman by name? That's where Palo Alto is headed the way it is trying to sanitize history.

It could be presided over by a guy named Adolf.


11 people like this
Posted by Local Parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 27, 2017 at 5:50 pm

@anon, I don't find analogies to composers very illuminating. I prefer to deal with the cases in front of us. You can sort out composers as you see fit.

You and others have accused other posters of racism and ignorance. I think you are wrong on both counts. Most people I speak to simply find it a waste of time and money, with no impact on students. You can keep claiming that they must get to your level of knowledge so they might share your opinions, but they feel they know enough and disagree. Maybe you could try to understand their point of view.

I think most Palo Altans don't care for eugenics (capital e or small) but don't see they payoff on this name cleansing exercise. A shame the committee and school board never asked, I'm sure they realized that they would not get the answer they were looking for.


3 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

What was wrong with my suggestion that the city auction off naming rights for the schools? It's worthy of discussion.

Cities all over the country are doing it. We have a huge unfunded pension liability.


25 people like this
Posted by jordan teacher
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 27, 2017 at 6:59 pm

The above post by Resident sums everything up very well on this subject.

I mean are you kidding me, NO ONE CARES BUT a very few people with way to much time on their hands. I still cannot believe this is happening. The kids could care less, maybe a few Jordan teachers really care, but other than that no one cares.

PAUSD always crying about money and now this huge waste of money!!!

This is just common sense 101 and this type of touchy feely stuff is what got TRUMP ELECTED because people with common sense or have a life can only take so much.

This is not going to make one bit of difference in how a student is educated, a student's middle school experience etc...

How about we look at the past, deal with it and see that WAY MORE GOOD WAS DONE THAN BAD and that some beliefs back then were common and TERRIBLE.

Are all these do gooders and particular student going to demand that our nation capital be changed because, even though he did so many great things, Washington did HAVE SLAVES which anyway you put it was terrible.


27 people like this
Posted by Jordan Teacher
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 27, 2017 at 8:16 pm

BTW Madison, Wisconsin is named after James Madison who believed in slavery and actually had slaves. Are the people of Madison, Wisconsin going to change the name? No way! Slavery was accepted at the time although very, very terrible. But he did a lot more good than bad and people understand in those days slavery was accepted by lots of people but terrible regardless!!!

Well Terman and Jordan had some beliefs that today we know are terrible but back in their day were common with lots of people.

This is such common sense that I cannot believe we are even talking about it.




19 people like this
Posted by Historical View
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 27, 2017 at 8:17 pm

"Washington had slaves" - true, and would I add that the case of Lincoln is even more interesting.

Lincoln, by all historical accounts, would today be called a "white supremacist" - he actively and openly preached the superiority of the white race and the incompatibility of whites and blacks living together. Now deceased Stanford historian George Fredrickson paints this portrait in his short book, "Lincoln: Big Enough to be Inconsistent" (Web Link) - Lincoln was both strongly anti-slavery and unabashedly white supremacist. Lincoln's preferred post-slavery solution was expatriation of freed slaves to either Africa or Central American. For those who want a short version, here is the Snopes fact check on "Did Abraham Lincoln Express Opposition to Racial Equality" (Web Link). Answer: Yes

So what to do? Should we condemn him as a Bad Person (there were, after all, many at the time who were NOT white supremacists)? Is Lincoln disqualified from public school names? Should we rename Lincoln Ave in Old Palo Alto? Stop mentioning him without noting, "while, like Columbus, he was admired for many years, we now recognize that he held morally unacceptable beliefs."

I could honestly care less about middle school names (does anyone? really?), but I am concerned about the time spent on this. Hopefully it will pass and the schools can return to serious education issues.


14 people like this
Posted by Long time resident
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 27, 2017 at 9:33 pm

How about Snowflake Middle School. Snowflakes are beautiful (like our city), each one is different (like our children), they are quickly gone (like the middle school years), and if snow becomes even more rare due to the effects of global warming, it will be a reminder to kids to take care of the environment. And maybe others can come up with some other reasons why this would be a good name.


1 person likes this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 27, 2017 at 9:59 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Weekly Reader (re Dec 21 post)

"Anti-Asian sentiment not high on your list of concerns these days? How many Asians were on that committee?"

This was very high on my list of concerns, since it seems to me that eugenicist backing of anti-Asian immigration since the time Jordan teamed up with Senator Stanford would be of concern to the 40% or so of PAUSD students of Asian descent. Are they aware of the racial bias their predecessors faced in this country? Aware that Jordan considered their genes to be inferior to Nordic Europeans' and that education couldn't remedy their deficiencies any more than it could those of other categories of "unfit" who eugenicists felt degraded America's gene pool?

There were no Asians on the committee, though some had Asian family members. That's a pity. As one of the largest and fastest growing components of the school population they have a stake in all matters of district concern. I hoped there would be Asian representation on the committee to suggest school names, but no one applied--a lost opportunity from my point of view.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Posted by Local Parent, a resident of College Terrace, wrote:

>> @anon, I don't find analogies to composers very illuminating. I prefer to deal with the cases in front of us. You can sort out composers as you see fit.

Then I won't use this analogy with you. It works for some people, because quite a few people are familiar enough with Wagner to understand the point. In case you are interested in the political significance of Wagner, here is a short (conservative) summary. It is pointed, succinct, and a quick read:

Web Link

>> You and others have accused other posters of racism

I didn't.

>> and ignorance.

Guilty-- that is, regarding the role of (Lewis) Terman and Jordan in the political Eugenics movement. Clearly many people are ignorant of it.

>> Most people I speak to simply find it a waste of time and money, with no impact on students.

How much money would it cost to drop Lewis Terman from the website, and "rename" Terman, (Frederick) Terman? The web maintainer could do it on their break. As for Jordan, sure, a new sign would be required. Perhaps private donations will cover it.

As for the students and "Jordan" -- OK, some of the material is R-rated and best left until high school, but, I think middle school students can surely get the idea that Eugenics - the political side - was a significant factor in the political tide that led to Nazism, and, also had a role in US racism.

>> You can keep claiming that they must get to your level of knowledge so they might share your opinions, but they feel they know enough and disagree. Maybe you could try to understand their point of view.

I don't understand what you are saying.

>> I think most Palo Altans don't care for eugenics (capital e or small) but don't see they payoff on this name cleansing exercise.

Knowledge of history seldom has a payoff during the following quarter. History is an investment that takes decades to mature.


6 people like this
Posted by @ON
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 28, 2017 at 12:59 am

@Online Name -
your censored comment, above, can be found (before being censored) on the page I dedicated on my blog to the ongoing censoring. I copy and then post comments before and after they are censored here (only a tiny sampling) here:


Web Link (or search for: village fool palo alto before and after).

BTW, You are in good company! Here's sampling of censored quotes. I titled this blog post:
What do Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Miguel De Cervantes, and Shakespeare have in common? All were censored by the PA online.
Link: Web Link (or search for: village fool palo alto twain Shaw Orwell have in common)

I hope you will see this comment, it will vanish soon.

Happy New Year!
VililAge f0O0ol


6 people like this
Posted by Local Parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 28, 2017 at 7:04 am

@Anon,

Re Wagner - you run in a different crowd from me - most people I know are not very familiar with the views of a composer born 200+ years ago. Besides, analogy is a weak form of reasoning; I'll stick to the current case.

"Clearly many people are ignorant of it." Why do you think that? Who says "Eugenics - I don't see the problem, I'm for it"? It seems like you think they are ignorant simply because they disagree. You should consider the alternative - that you don't understand their position. Consider - why would someone who has studied the historical context and this debate nevertheless disagree with you on renaming? Can you not think of any reason aside from racism? You assert they are ignorant - why?

Re Fred Terman - you may not have followed the school board discussion closely. The board specifically ruled out Fred Terman as a name for Terman. You are right, it would be low-cost and as good a name as any, but the school board's ideologues decided keeping the school's last name would be "confusing" (points to anyone who can explain that!). Some community members actively tried to discredit Fred Terman ("He never disavowed his father's views"; "he helped bring in Shockley, who later supported eugenics") - the RSAC eventually had to eat crow and withdraw it.

"Perhaps private donations would cover it" - if anyone had stepped forward to donate the money or raise it, that would have been helpful. No one did. As a result, the schools will spend money that would be spent on better buildings and staff to simply change out signage.

"Don't see the payoff" - fine, you disagree with me and I think most Palo Altans. I have no problem with that. My problem is that 1) the community was never asked and their views on this issue ignored; and 2) some assert that those who disagree must be ignorant or racist (or both). Ignoring and disparaging the views of the majority is an unsavory and sometimes dangerous game.


14 people like this
Posted by jordan teacher
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 28, 2017 at 9:48 am

@anon,

I'm still waiting for your very educated response to my posts. You respond to everyone else but I imagine you do not respond to my post because very hard to argue: What do we do about Washington D.C. , Madison Wisconsin?

You start this witch hunt and where does it all end? What is good for Palo Alto should also be good for the nation also, right?

Or is Palo Alto and PAUSD just so much more caring, educated and righteous than the rest of the nation and PAUSD knows better than rest of the nation?


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Posted by Local Parent; a resident of College Terrace

>> Re Wagner - you run in a different crowd from me - most people I know are not very familiar with the views of a composer born 200+ years ago.

If you have read the linked article, you have realized that Wagner's politics had an enormous impact on world history, and, that this is still remembered negatively in Israel, and has an impact today. History is like that-- what you don't know can hurt you. I think that Wagner's politics are very, very relevant to today's political landscape.

>>Besides, analogy is a weak form of reasoning; I'll stick to the current case.

Analogies can useful when selected with the same reasoning process at work. Sometimes it is easier to talk about the reasoning by switching to a different context. Abraham Lincoln liked to use analogies this way. But hey, you don't like analogies? I'm fine with that.

>> "Clearly many people are ignorant of it." Why do you think that? Who says "Eugenics - I don't see the problem, I'm for it"? It seems like you think they are ignorant simply because they disagree.

It appears to me that most people don't realize the role that US "eugenics" had in the history of Nazism, and the role that California scholars and organizations had in the US.

>> Re Fred Terman - you may not have followed the school board discussion closely. The board specifically ruled out Fred Terman as a name for Terman. [...] the RSAC eventually had to eat crow and withdraw it.

You are correct. I did not follow this part of the discussion closely. Mea culpa. It still makes sense to me, though. :-)



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Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 28, 2017 at 1:50 pm

How can you site Lincoln as a reasoning authority when he was a very public and avowed racist, considering blacks to be worth a fraction of whites?


7 people like this
Posted by jordan teacher
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm

@anon,

I have to respectfully disagree with you and that is okay, we are all entitled to our opinion. Truthfully, you should probably stop posting because your posts are way to intellectual for a common sense issue like this one and you are starting to really reach and grasp for your theories on why names should be changed.

BTW, your thoughts on Washington D.C. and if our nations capital should be changed or have name changed? Also what about Madison Wisconsin? Seems you and your committee know what is right for this issue and everyone in Palo Alto.

Cannot wait to hear your thoughts and look forward to you and your committee changing the U.S. and eventually the world!


7 people like this
Posted by Local Parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 28, 2017 at 2:16 pm

@Anon,

You and I definitely think differently about some things - which is fine and even useful. I think Wagner is irrelevant; you find him highly important. You like analogies; I prefer to deal with the actual case at hand. (BTW, many politicians, like Lincoln, like using analogies to persuade; as I said, it is a weak form of reasoning, but an effective rhetorical tool). I disagree, but still respect your view. Which seems fine.

I still think you underestimate and fail to appreciate the views of those who disagree on this issue. I think you could stipulate several facts - American eugenics was faulty science and led to bad policy; Jordan was a leader of US eugenics organizations and promoted the concept (among other unrelated things he did, like run Stanford); the Nazis later picked up on US eugenics and carried it to horrific extremes; Jordan was not a Nazi and did not directly support them (he died in 1931) - and you would find that most people did not think it was important enough to rename schools. But this is just a thought experiment - we'll never know.

My biggest concern is that the community was not asked their view - likely because the promoters within the district didn't want to know the answer. You don't speak to that point, which is fine - you are making a different point. But I think this is the most serious flaw in the process, and part of the reason why resentment continues - people who thought they knew better overrode the community's view, and didn't even have the courage and frankness to admit that's what they were doing.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Posted by jordan teacher, a resident of Jordan Middle School, wrote:

>> @anon, I'm still waiting for your very educated response to my posts. You respond to everyone else but I imagine you do not respond to my post because very hard to argue:

I have to set my priorities somewhere. ;-)


>> What do we do about Washington D.C. , Madison Wisconsin?

Washington is easy. Read Ron Chernow's biography, and your admiration may grow. Madison (and Jefferson), not so much-- so, you still have a valid point. Madison is a tough case, specifically, because he did great work, with the US Constitution, with Hamilton writing the Federalist Papers, and the Bill of Rights, but, he also devolved over time into a conventional plantation owner, as well as a deceptive, backstabbing political operator. As President-- well, anyway, you could write a book. In the end, Madison was a disappointment, dragged down by the planter's addiction to the slavery system.

>> You start this witch hunt

You lost me there. We are talking about which dead people should be honored by naming a public building or entity after them. Naming a public entity after a public political figure is inherently political. Names can be changed. A public high school in Houston, TX, was recently renamed from "Robert E. Lee High School" to "Margaret Long Wisdom High School". Margaret Long Wisdom (1922-2006) was a conservative Republican teacher in the district. Not my first choice, but, not insulting on a daily basis like "Robert E. Lee" was. How much did it cost HISD to rename? I don't know, but, it was worth it.

>> and where does it all end?

You have to set priorities somewhere, as with all things in life.

>> What is good for Palo Alto should also be good for the nation also, right?

>> Or is Palo Alto and PAUSD just so much more caring, educated and righteous than the rest of the nation and PAUSD knows better than rest of the nation?

I have no idea what you are trying to say.


4 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 28, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

(From my earlier post)

"many . . . . ***have either not bothered to inform themselves about eugenics*** or, alternatively, still believe in the racist, elitist, biological determinist beliefs of the Eugenicist movement"

Can we dispense with the accusation, based on a misreading, that the adjective choices are limited to "ignorant" or "racist?" "Uncaring," "incurious," and "ill-informed" are among the less inflammatory adjectives that could apply to those who choose not to inform themselves about eugenics.

Thank you Anon for the web link to the Wikipedia article on Eugenics in the United States. I had not seen this depth of information brought together in such accessible form before. Research is catching up as awareness of the role of negative eugenics in shaping the society we live in spreads.

Just wondering, do people really not recognize that negative eugenics lives on despite the cover-up that happened after World War II? In a time of resurgent white nativism and anti-immigrant hysteria, we overlook the lingering elements of the 20th century Eugenics movement to our peril.


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Posted by Conscience of a Liberal
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 28, 2017 at 2:40 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2017 at 2:42 pm

* Posted by jordan teacher, a resident of Jordan Middle School:

>> @anon, I have to respectfully disagree with you and that is okay, we are all entitled to our opinion. Truthfully, you should probably stop posting because your posts are way to intellectual for a common sense issue like this one

Point taken! I'll **try** to keep it short. :-)

* Posted by Seriously?, a resident of Stanford:

>> How can you site Lincoln as a reasoning authority

I don't have to agree with Machiavelli to cite him. Lincoln was a masterful rhetorician, much to the annoyance of his political rivals.

>> when he was a very public and avowed racist, considering blacks to be worth a fraction of whites?

I suggest reading "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The answer to your question is subtle and involved.

* Local Parent wrote:

>> My biggest concern is that the community was not asked their view - likely because the promoters within the district didn't want to know the answer. You don't speak to that point, which is fine - you are making a different point. But I think this is the most serious flaw in the process, and part of the reason why resentment continues - people who thought they knew better overrode the community's view, and didn't even have the courage and frankness to admit that's what they were doing.

The school board is composed of our elected representatives. I guess I viewed this as something that they could decide. What puzzles me is, if the school name really, actually doesn't matter, as so many people have stated, as part of their time-and-money argument, then, why is it so emotional? There is something else going on politically that I admit I don't quite understand.


27 people like this
Posted by Local parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 28, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I agree with your last point, if the name is unimportant why worry about changing it? There are two reasons for me.

One, it costs money, and at a time when we are in a deficit and spending our reserves and cutting positions. So it seems frivolous and self-indulgent, serving a relatively small group of activists, not students.

Two, they didn't bother to ask what people wanted. If a large majority had said no, it would have been difficult for the Board to ignore. But instead they avoided the question. You can't get a good outcome with a bad process, and that unfortunately is what we had.


7 people like this
Posted by RSAC member
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 28, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Fascinating how the resentment lives on. Also fascinating how much misunderstanding still exists:

- renaming is belittled as "politically correct", and just that label seems to be reason for some of the resentment. PC is not really an argument for/against renaming, would be good if those railing against what they consider political correctness would produce an actual argument for NOT changing the names instead

- Jordan/L.Terman/Eugenics no big deal, many where in favor back then, just as many had slaves, and where does it all end, do we have to rename Washington DC and State, and on? Many where supporters of Eugenics, many had slaves, but very few where outspoken, early leaders influential in shaping the movement the way Jordan and L Terman were in the case of negative Eugenics. The renaming report substantiates this central point in great detail, recommended reading for this discussion (I know, I've suggested that before ...)

- names don't matter, nobody cares. As someone pointed out, the names do seem to matter, otherwise we wouldn't spill so much ink over it. School names matter even more, as they honor the legacy of the namesake, and are meant to reflect the values of the community and inspire all of our students. Unfortunately the Stanford leadership values and inspiration coming for Jordan/L.Terman is really hard to reconcile with the depth of their negative eugenics leadership, and unless you whitewash the legacies of Jordan/L.Terman they are not suitable role models for our students, and not reflecting the values of our community

- renaming accomplishes nothing, only whitewashing of history and a short-lived feel good moment for the few. Not true. Eugenics and Stanford's Jordan/Terman's leading role in it will be added to the curriculum and taught to all students in the district. That's the opposite of white washing, that's facing history and learning from it

- waste of money: the cost is ~$50k in a $300M budget, and comes from the bond fund for capital improvements. No teachers will be let go, no programs canceled.

- the public wasn't asked. The public was given numerous opportunities to express it's views throughout the very public ~15 month long proceedings of the committee and the related board meetings. Many did participate and spoke out (or wrote emails), and after all the 5 elected officials serving on the Board all voted in favor of renaming.

Perhaps renaming is the correct thing to do, not just the politically correct thing


18 people like this
Posted by Local Parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 28, 2017 at 11:19 pm

@RSAC member - thanks for writing in. An important amendment to your account:

- "the public wasn't asked" - the RSAC did a community survey, right? It did NOT ask "Do you favor renaming the schools," right? Doesn't that seem like an important question if you are doing ONE community wide survey? Why wasn't it asked? If it had been asked, the majority very likely would have opposed, which would have made it awkward for McGee and the board ideologues. So the key question was never asked. Aren't you a little embarrassed by that? I would be.

While it was not the members' fault, the RSAC was not designed to represent the community in any way. It was made up of activists. It was far from an even-handed and open pursuit of alternatives. A small number felt strongly for it - they served on the committee and went to board meetings. Many, many more felt less strongly and were against it - a few sent emails, but they mostly stayed out of it or just complained. A classic "vocal minority" scenario - aren't boards supposed to avoid caving in to those?

The fact is that the result was predetermined by McGee when he formed the committee; that was his M.O., have stacked and controlled committees validate what he wanted to do anyway and pretend he was just going along. If they are really cared what the community wanted, they would have asked in the survey. They didn't. You can't get a good outcome from a bad process - THAT's why there is resentment.


6 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 29, 2017 at 12:15 am

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 29, 2017 at 11:47 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Local Parent

You raise a number of interesting points. I'd like to address the claim that the committee was stacked to obtain a pre-ordained outcome because it included people who had been active in bringing the petition forward.

One selected member, who had been active in opposition to examining the names, came to a single meeting, protested the presence on the committee of petition organizers, and never returned to do the committee work he had applied for. Another selected member was active in the local history organization. I expected that person to be a spokesman on the committee representing the no-change position. No show. A third member of the committee provided a skeptical voice about renaming in the early stages of our work, grounded in long PA residence and experience as a county school administrator . Sadly, he was unable to continue the work and resigned over the summer.

In brief, the committee was structured to provoke engagement between people coming from different positions, including the persuadable middle, to develop a set of recommendations to present to the board. The specific mix, had those three continued, would have been different. Among those who stuck with the task, there were major differences of opinion, including among those who eventually came down on the same side of one or the other issue. The result was not preordained. You can read about it in the RSAC report.

Supt. McGee was minimally involved until the final stages, after Markus Autrey, who had been assigned the task of moderating the committee, was dismissed without warning over the winter break. My sense, talking with Mr. Autrey, was that the Superintendent was hoping for a report of a half-dozen pages or so to be handed on to the board for action. The board and the community got far more than that. When he sat in as moderator following Mr. Autrey's departure, Supt. McGee came to have a fuller appreciation of the work that had been done and the depth and quality of the report that was produced.

I hope this is helpful. It's not intended to be provocative and I hope it doesn't come across that way.

To return to the article itself: Now is the time to bring the community together around selecting new names. Committee meetings are open to the public so you can listen in on their deliberations.

Happy New Year!


18 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 29, 2017 at 11:58 am

So let's get this straight. The 'selected' committee members who were opposed to renaming the schools ALL disappeared from the committee. This seems to say something about the selection process and/or those doing the selecting. I surely would like to be able to choose whom should represent my opponents in all my decision making.

Why was there no attempt to replace the departing "no change" members? Was the committee concerned that all viewpoints weren't represented in their deliberations? These seem like elementary questions of fairness. Of course, maybe fairness wasn't the objective.

From the survey to the committee, it's hard to reach any other conclusion than that the process was, in Local Parent's words, stacked. One might also say rigged.


5 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 29, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Mary

"So let's get this straight. The 'selected' committee members who were opposed to renaming the schools ALL disappeared from the committee."

Yes, let's *do* get this straight. There were plenty of "against" and "undecided" even with the withdrawal of the three I mentioned (one selectee who indicated support of renaming on the application also withdrew). Read the report.

Happy New Year!



4 people like this
Posted by RSAC member
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm

To all those enraged by the renaming:

Your facts:
- The committee was rigged
- The community was not asked
- The outcome was preordained

RSAC facts
- Jordan wrote the first book raising the specter of negative eugenics (>60,000 women where sterilized against there will in the name of eugenics), was chairman of the first Eugenics organization, was the scientific brain behind the first ‘eugenics/sterilization’ law in Indiana (he was President of their University at that time …), came to California to be the scientific brain behind California’s sterilization law (CA sterilized >20,0000 women), was co-founder and board member of the Human Betterment Foundation, which took pride in having inspired the eugenics thinking in Nazi Germany. But Jordan was also the accomplished first president or Stanford (which gave him the standing to drive his eugenics agenda, and driving he did when he hired and inspired young Lewis Terman), was an international peace advocate (because he couldn’t stand the thought of white boys dying on the battlefield, leaving the homeland exposed to the uncontrolled reproduction of the inferiors), and was America’s leading ichthyologist (as recognized by the Smithsonian Museum).
If that readers digest is not enough to wonder about David Starr Jordan’s legacy, then there is always the RSAC report with the full disclosure and the sources for everything claimed above, and so much more.

If this is Jordan’s legacy, why is renaming such an objectionable, frivolous idea. Could someone please articulate why the names should be retained given everything we now know?



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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2017 at 1:11 pm

If the real issue is the $50k, as some have complained:
$50k - with ~26,000 households, that is about $2/household
- with ~12,000 students, that is about $4/student
- so that "No" votes don't have to pay, lets make that $10 each
How about if the district sets up a voluntary contribution fund to pay for the name change? Seriously, I would pay my $10 today if I had a mechanism to do it.


17 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm

"Could someone please articulate why the names should be retained given everything we now know?"

The problem with picking out one particular aspect of a person's life and career and making it that individual's defining characteristic using not the standards of the time in which he or she lived, but current standards is that there is no logical stopping point. Everyone's legacy will be tied to the ever-changing morality and we will never be able to honor a person in a way that will not be subject to question at some future time.

As people on this thread have pointed out, by today's standards, Abraham Lincoln would be a white supremacist reprobate. Margaret Sanger held views that were straightforwardly racist in today's morality.

The fact is that - strange and odious as it seems to us modern moralists - eugenics was respectable and mainstream science and for a time, not particularly controversial. Jordan's eugenics advocacy isn't something we "now know". His history and scholarship were well recognized during his lifetime as he published them and promoted them widely. He wasn't some secret KKK member. More to the point, Jordan's viewpoints were available and well known at the time Jordan school was named. So was his work as a peace activist, a scientist of accomplishments in disciplines not (yet) subject to modern disqualification, and an innovative educator. The difference between then and now isn't some new discovery about Jordan's views. It's that they considered Jordan's whole legacy, not a single facet of it.

There is no one who's reputation will not be subject to revision using the shifting standards being used to judge Jordan. If this is the road we're heading down, maybe those here who want to remove all names of persons from schools (and every other civic work) are right: let's name everything after some anodyne inanimate object. Do you really think today's heroes are immune from the kind of scorched earth policies being advocated by some here?


19 people like this
Posted by stop
a resident of another community
on Dec 29, 2017 at 5:13 pm

As a grad of Jordan I'm VERY biased and DO NOT want the name changed. There is only ONE fair way to decide this issue - put the matter to a vote and let the citizens decide! If the School Board decides against this, have a Recall election. If there is extra cost, put out a crowd funding request - it will be over subscribed!


6 people like this
Posted by RSAC member
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 29, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Hi @Mary,

thank you for your thoughtful response. We have no disagreement on the popularity of eugenics, and it's broad support at the time. I'm also not saying that Jordan was a 'closet' eugenicist that was outed by RSAC. He made his views very public, and influenced a lot of others in their thinking, and that is the key point. Jordan was not repeating what others had already said, he was genuinely ahead of the time in creating the negative eugenics movement, the one that argues that racial purity and superiority can only be retained by preventing the inferiors among 'us' (the superior white race, more specifically the Andglo-Saxon/Nordic race, not the dilapidated southern Europeans or the white Jews), not to mention Asians or Hispanics (all Jordan's views and words).

If you trace back to the beginnings of the eugenics movement we can give credit to Sir francis Galton for creating the modern, European version of a very old concept. Galton, himself a cousin of Sir Charles Darwin, who brought us the survival of the fittest (appliedd generally to species, not just the human kind).
Galton rallied academia in the UK and other superior white races in Scandinavia, Germany and the US to the cause of positive eugenics, trying to marry off blue-eyed folk to have plenty of blue eyed off-spring. Galton advocated for 'marriage cards' that would certify the racial purity of the holder, to create better marriage matches and a more beautiful and superior race.
What Jordan brought to the party upon returning from early Eugenics conferences in London in the 1890s was the unique outlook that the decay of the superior race at the hand of the inferiors among 'us' (really Jordan and his contemporaries) can only be prevented by preventing the inferiors from reproducing out of control. That is his early, lasting and harmful contribution to match-making in the early 20th century.
Needless to say that Jordan also found ample evidence of the intellectual inferiority of those dubbed inferiors, their moronic state pre-determined by poor genes, and beyond hope of educational attainment. Now we enter Lewis Terman, who gave us modern intelligence testing, originaly invented by Binet (French and therefore suspect of inborn inferiority). Binet's intelligence tests had the goal of identifying under-performing students such that they could receive additional support (perhaps Terman MS should be renamed Binet MS ....). Terman was quick to apply intelligence testing to identify those truly inferior, that should best be sterilized, so they don't spread their inferior genes and bring down the superior race through the back door.

So it is Jordan's and Terman's unique leadership roles that are in question, and are the reason for the RSAC renaming recommendation and Board renaming decision.


Footnote: what were they thinking back in 1937 when they named the school after Jordan (died in 1931). I wasn't there when the PAUSD Board of white men (fair to assume that they were not opposed to eugenics and their own racial superiority) decided that it is a good idea to honor the man that led Stanford through its founding years. And there probably wasn't much dissent as the eugenics rage was still raging, and Palo Alto was still operating under the Chinese Exclusion Act, that prohibited any Chinese, Blacks, Hispanics and many other races to own property in Palo Alto and live it in in any capacity other than as servants. Surprised?


3 people like this
Posted by Abortion v eugenics
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 30, 2017 at 9:01 am

I think we can all agree that eugenics as such is wrong.

However, we still have a form of selection when it comes to reproduction rights. I wonder how many who post here against Terman and Jordan think it is quite OK for a woman to have an abortion if she discovers she is carrying a downs syndrome baby. I wonder how many who have posted think it is quite OK for a woman to have an abortion because of financial reasons, or other reasons of inconvenience to her life. I wonder how many look on abortion as just another form of birth control.

I am saying all this because morals change. Eugenics no longer are PC. I wonder if one day we will change our morality and abortion will no longer be PC. Iceland appears to have taken the number of downs babies to almost zero. Is this something that we should be talking about more?


4 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2017 at 9:55 am

Abortion v Eugenics makes an interesting point. Eugenics was much more widely accepted in polite society in the early part of this century as abortion is today. (An interesting sidelight: Eugenics was not strictly the "white supremacy" trope that some posters here have tried to portray it as. Predominate black leaders like W.E.B. Du Bois (who thought that "only fit blacks should procreate"), academics at Howard university,and the League of Women Voters (along with other women's organizations) all were advocates of eugenics.) At the time David Star Jordan was advocating for eugenics, it was absolutely non-controversial both as science and as social policy. It was much more difficult then for people to imagine that eugenics would be discredited as science and reviled as social policy than it is today for us to imagine that the much more disputed science behind abortion and climate change, for example, would be rejected wholesale 50 or 100 years from now.

I don't really understand the distinction that RSAC is trying to make between Jordan and other eugenics advocates of his day - who presumably under the standards to be imposed would qualify for school naming honors. Jordan was a prolific and productive person in everything he did: from science, to education, to peace activism as well as to the eugenics movement. It seems kind of strange to reject him because he was an especially able scholar - especially when eugenics was only a fraction of what his life and career were about. As I said in my last post, there is no logical stopping point to what the renaming advocates are proposing. Abraham Lincoln had absolutist white supremacist views (and was reviled by Frederick Douglas for them) Web Link. As president, it is safe to assume he had an especially effective platform to promote these views. Do we - under RSAC's standards - rename Lincoln Avenue?

We will not like the society we are creating if we go down this path. Ask Robespierre.


Like this comment
Posted by Drain the Swamp
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2017 at 10:43 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


4 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm

I spoke incorrectly in my previous statement. According to Ronald Kesslar, President Johnson stated that blacks would vote democrat for the next 200 years, not 50 years. Kesslar further explained that Johnson made the statement because the Great Society welfare promises and entitlements ensured that most blacks would likely vote democrat in order to keep receiving such benefits. In addition, the famous Ted Kennedy who saved a woman from drowning in his car after a night of drinking supported an increase of immigrants that would also receive entitlements as another source of continuous democratic voters. So here we are today, observing the dream of Johnson and Kennedy being fulfilled.


3 people like this
Posted by Keep It Simple
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Would anyone take offense at these three names?

750 N. California Avenue Middle School
480 E. Meadow Drive Middle School
655 Arastradero Road Middle School


7 people like this
Posted by Terman parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 30, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Thank you to the renaming committee and school board for changing the name of Terman and Jordan middle schools. I have two children at Terman who, having learned the history, are stunned Terman’s name has been allowed to stand this long. They’re attending a school named for someone who believed they didn’t deserve to be born.


8 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2017 at 6:08 pm

“The presence of numbers of that degraded and distinct people would exercise a deleterious effect upon the superior race.” -- Leland Stanford of Chinese immigrants in the 1860's.

I understand Terman Parent's lament. But once we start down this path, there is no rational stopping point. All people, including we enlightened denizens of the 21st century, are products of the time they live in to one degree or another. If we all are to be judged by the shifting science and morals of the ever advancing present, no one will pass the test by which some are seeking to judge Jordan, Terman, (and Stanford, Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson...and eventually you.)


2 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 30, 2017 at 8:04 pm

@Terman Parent, Who do you think L. Terman thought shouldn't be born? Here's the text of the Human Betterment Foundation 1929 report on "Sterilization for Human Betterment" (Web Link):

The principal field for sterilization remains, namely, the eugenic. Persons should
be sterilized if it is to the interest of the race that they produce no children or no more children, and if it appears that sterilization is the most effective and satisfactory means of preventing reproduction. Here, the interruption
of a bad inheritance comes into thought. Amaurotic family idiocy, haemophilia,
Huntingdon's chorea, certain forms of blindness, and deaf-mutism, dementia
praecox, and manic depressive insanity could properly be limited by the procedure.

This is not a policy anyone agrees with today. But no need to spread the rumor that L. Terman wanted minorities sterilized (which I'm guessing you were implying by your comment about your children) or "never born."


2 people like this
Posted by Terman parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 30, 2017 at 9:01 pm

@Mary: I keep hearing “if we rename the school then we will have to rename (streets, cities, etc etc)”—that supposedly slippery slope. We don’t *not* rename a school because we’re afraid of a hypothetical slippery slope (remember one of the arguments used against gay marriage, that slippery slope that if we legalize gay marriage then we will end up legalizing polygamy, etc? We’re not talking about renaming anything but our two middle schools. It’s the right thing to do.

@History Buff, Lewis Terman and Jordan helped pass legislation for compulsory sterilization: of people of color, Jews and more. This article is written by a Palo Altan whose mother was forcibly sterilized (in WA state) after giving birth to her because the doctor didn’t think we needed any more brown babies. This was eugenics in practice. I hope everyone interested in this topic will read this touching, personal account, and this author’s connection to Terman/Jordan middle schools.
Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 30, 2017 at 9:20 pm

@Terman Parent, I'm afraid you are mistaken. Here's a link (Web Link) to a history of eugenic sterilization in California.

There were 3 laws passed - 1909, 1913, and 1917. Take a look - they covered "mental defectives," "lunatics," various prison inmates (sex offenders), all institutionalized. There's no mention of races or religions. According to the records available, about 4% of those sterilized were black; about 8% were "Mexican."

The article you shared is sad, and in fact a crime, but doesn't relate to the the California laws that Jordan and Terman promoted.

I don't agree with Terman's and Jordan's positions - I think few if any do today. But we don't do ourselves or our children any favors by distorting what they did to fit current social narratives. (Just as the efforts to smear F. Terman were stain on the community; I'm glad they were repudiated in the end.)


3 people like this
Posted by Terman parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 30, 2017 at 10:02 pm

@History Buff, thank you, you’re right about the laws. But Terman did indeed see people of color and others as inferior human beings and “a problem because of their unusually prolific breeding.”

From L. Terman:
“High-grade or border-line deficiency... is very, very common among Spanish-Indian and Mexican families of the Southwest and also among negroes. Their dullness seems to be racial, or at least inherent in the family stocks from which they come... Children of this group should be segregated into separate classes... They cannot master abstractions but they can often be made into efficient workers... from a eugenic point of view they constitute a grave problem because of their unusually prolific breeding” (The Measurement of Intelligence, 1916)

All Terman and Jordan students will be learning this history. How do we as parents and a community explain to our children that they are indeed worthy and equal, and that they should feel proud to wear a Terman shirt? Maybe easier to explain to a non-Hispanic white, Christian kid. But it can hit differently for others. The comments I’ve heard — “get over it,” “snowflakes” and “PC”— are insulting.

It’s a sad reality that so many in Palo Alto are so passionate about defending Terman and Jordan—some even say we shouldn’t rename the schools because it would hurt their families’ feelings (while in the same breathe saying Terman students should “get over it.”)

I could understand the argument that there are more important issues to deal with — suicides, sexual harassment — but the renaming isn’t taking time and attention away from those. The entire district is receiving updated Title IX training while PAUSD continues to work with the OCR, and there was a recent thorough report done regarding student suicides. The renaming of the middle schools is being handled by the renaming committee, a group of volunteers who will make recommendations to the school board.

But perhaps if opponents to renaming fight hard enough, then they will take up more of the school board’s time—over an issue they claim is ridiculous and a waste of time.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2017 at 10:13 pm

@Terman Parent

It seems you have pointed out to your 2 children all the negative things about Terman but I wonder if you have pointed out to them all the good things he did and why he was deemed worthy of having the school named for him? I wonder if you just told them the negative things and made him sound like a monster to them.

I think we should look to the good in people, not the bad. Yes, many historical figures did things we think of today as wrong, but they also did very good things. I hasten to add that many Presidents would join the list of those who have had sexual harassment complaints if they were still around today and yet because they are deceased they are no longer going to lose their jobs.

We live in an imperfect world. Rather than telling your children about Terman's faults, how about showing them what he should be remembered for. He was an incredible person who should be remembered for all the good things about him. Not disgraced and made to be seen as a monster.


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 30, 2017 at 10:14 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Research is ongoing into the records of who were victims of forced sterilization, this is an empirical matter requiring data that was not available for decades. Expect to hear more about this aspect of the eugenics project in the future.

A great disappointment has been that Stanford has not yet delivered a statement about its memorialization practices and policies since a strong native student challenge to the appropriateness of naming facilities for Junipero Serra in the light of the cultural and physical decimation of native peoples has not been adequately addressed. Likewise, questions about the impact of Jordan, Terman and Cubberley's eugenic beliefs and practices on education have likewise gone unanswered. We counted on leadership from the university to develop the case for inclusivity and diversity, moving beyond the parochial, Nordic European biases of its founders.

I hope the new committee formed at the request of President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell will help us all better understand the history and the issues related to eugenics and that Stanford scholars will have support for research to clarify the social policy and scientific impacts of Jordan's pioneering advocacy of (negative) eugenics on what later became the sciences of genetics, genomics, biotechnology and other gene-related fields of study. The New Eugenics is not the thinly disguised cover for traditional prejudices and inequality that Jordan's pseudo-scientific version of eugenics amounted to. Mary Rorty, a bioethicist at Stanford alerted the community to this important point at the Town Hall Forum sponsored by RSAC last year.


11 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 30, 2017 at 11:08 pm

@Terman parent, I agree that Terman and Jordan were racists. But so were many, many, many others in their time and earlier. For instance, many, probably most presidents up through the mid-20th century were racist - Lincoln, Wilson, Hoover, Jefferson, Jackson, McKinley, etc. So being a racist = not good; being a eugenics promoter = not good; ultimately disqualifying? Hard to say.

But my point is more about getting their story straight. It was interesting in the PAUSD debates that families with special needs and mental health issues did not seem particularly engaged - the main force of eugenic forced sterilization was aimed at people like them. And Leland Stanford of course was virulently anti-Chinese, and signed a Chinese exclusion bill (later found unconstitutional) - but our middle school bearing his wife's name was not questioned.

History, like memory, is often selectively mined and turned to our own purposes. Indeed, it's hard to avoid. But it seems useful to try to get it right, and try to understand, not just condemn, those who came before. I find L. Terman odd, puzzling, not attractive, but also not evil; and his son, F. Terman, was a gift who changed the world for the better. Jordan, on the other hand, seems even less attractive, and without the subsequent gift.

BTW, I agree with you that many, me included, don't really care much about the school names; changing them doesn't bother me. What does bother me is mis-telling of the past to confuse the present (not pointing at you; you were gracious in acknowledging the nature of the sterilization laws, for instance). Understanding the past is useful and improving our understanding gives me hope for the future.


1 person likes this
Posted by LongTimePA_Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 31, 2017 at 8:35 am

If this change, silly as it is, is a must, I like these, but they could be simplified:

* Posted by Keep It Simple

* 750 N. California Avenue Middle School
* 480 E. Meadow Drive Middle School
* 655 Arastradero Road Middle School

How about:
California Middle School
Meadow Middle School
Arastradero Middle School


11 people like this
Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2017 at 9:41 am


We who oppose this for either how misplaced this effort is (and we are not racists, a lot of us are 'colored' people and yes we understand the idea behind this) or how unimportant this is now given all the other self inflicted problems plaguing our district thanks to the inefficient and self serving board and administration, are not going to be heard. This is a done deal whether we the taxpayers have an opinion or not.

Our question going forward should be how many and which names is the incompetent admin and the self serving board going to change to fix these

Web Link

which assuming at least some of these are credible are affecting our kids in the now! Allegations against staff members, allegations for not making disability accommodations, the list continues. I bet the board and our admin will say we have to cut funding for investigating this because of budget constraints.





1 person likes this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 31, 2017 at 9:56 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@History Buff

You are right on target about the listed flaws of the "genetically unfit" who were targeted for forced sterilization. This was not about race as we understand this eugenics-loaded term. (See Wikipedia entry on Buck v. Bell (1927), the Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates for states to carry out forced sterilization). Other aspects of (negative) eugenics were: e.g. "the one-drop rule", banning of mixed marriages, restricting immigration from non-western European sources, . . .

We haven't talked much here about Louis Terman, about whom no one on the RSAC committee--supporter or opponent of renaming--brought up anything positive in our discussions. Quite a different matter for his son Fred, of course, who is justifiably memorialized at Stanford and in the community for his role in bringing Stanford into the top tier of national universities and promoting what became Silicon Valley. His good name and reputation fortunately will no longer be sullied by confused association with his father's damaging impact on education.


12 people like this
Posted by Simple somition
a resident of another community
on Dec 31, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Very simple; those who feel so strongly that the names be changed should pay for it themselves.


31 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 31, 2017 at 12:10 pm

@Mr. Underdal, your committee did not do F. Terman any service. I don't think anyone ever thought to malign F. Terman until your committee did so by suggesting he may have been a closet eugenics supporter.

It is hard to feel good about statements like, "Frederick does not appear to have disavowed his father's eugenics....", "The record is unclear on whether [L Terman's] influence [on F. Terman] extended to eugenics...", and this gem, "[F. Terman] also recruited his friend and staunch eugenicist William Shockley to Stanford." (Of course, Shockley had shared the Nobel Prize for the transistor, founded the first "silicon" company in Silicon Valley, and had made no statements about eugenics in the 1950s when he came to Stanford.)

In fact there was no evidence whatsoever that F. Terman supported eugenics or his father's work, but the committee left the impression that he might have. As I said, we can selectively mine history to serve our purposes, or try to understand it to gain the benefit. The treatment of F. Terman didn't benefit him or us - in fact, it was a stain on the community and the school district's effort.


4 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 31, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Mary

Yours is an articulate, informed presence in this thread, with a perspective quite different from my own. Thank you for participating.

Could you tell me how all memory of David Starr Jordan was lost to most Palo Altans somewhere between 1937, when David Starr Jordan Junior High School opened and 2015, when a classroom report led to a reexamination of Jordan's record and a broader study of the impacts of the Eugenics Movement?

You stated in a post that the community was well aware of Jordan's record when it named the school. How did the community respond, then, as it watched the German government's attempt to fully implement what they called in their post-war defense against charges of crimes against humanity "the Indiana Plan" to cull undesirables from the population? How had the community responded earlier in the decade, as Jews tried to flee the onrushing disaster in Europe only to run into immigration barriers thrown up by the eugenicist Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924? Did Jews have a voice in Palo Alto affairs then?

How about Catholics, the biggest organized obstacle to the eugenicist scheme to improve mankind by selective breeding and removal of unfit genes through measures ranging from sterilization to euthanasia? Did they have a voice?

There's no need to ask whether the local Muwekma people, or the broader Bay Area group of Ohlone Natives had a voice. Systematic destruction of their cultures and polities had rendered them largely voiceless long before the eugenicists' "racial hygiene" put a euphemistic gloss on inequality and abuse.

There was a black community in Palo Alto. Are they on record about Jordan, Terman and Cubberley's eugenicist beliefs? How did they feel about eugenicists' insistence that despite the outstanding characteristics of some black individuals people bearing African genes were unfit and a danger to America?

What about the Chinese and Filipinos, for whom Jordan and eugenicists generally held so much disdain? The Japanese caught a break with Jordan, in contrast to mainstream objectors against Asian immigration. He admired their discipline and efficiency and, according to E.M Burns, Jordan's biographer, Jordan wrote in 1912 that it was Japan's mission to bring the fruits of civilization to the rest of Asia. Did any of them have a voice?

Almost forgot to inquire about the Latinos. California eugenicists' particular obsession then and now was with the threat of genetic degeneracy represented by Mexicans and other Spanish speakers from the New World. Was there a Latino presence in Palo Alto? Did they have a voice?

How about families who had members that were "abnormal" in some fashion? Eugenicist pronouncements that mental illness, physical disability, cancer, poverty and many other traits were evidence of bad genes would have reduced the likelihood that people would speak up against the eugenicists if doing so could open up damaging suspicion that their families harbored such traits.

White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) were enthusiastic about Jordan as a role model for students in 1937 and didn't see any reason to question that position in the nearly 80 years that passed before Jordan's legacy caught the eye of a teacher and then a student and then the community at large. With current patterns of demographic change, it's unlikely that nostalgia for Jordan and Terman as school names will last long. Kids adapt and move on unless adults press grudges and teach their children to regard the change of a school's name as a blow to their identity and culture. We've seen a lot of that in the former Confederate states. I hope we won't see it in Palo Alto.

New names will soon be chosen for our middle schools. I can't wait to see what they'll be and what they'll say about our city.

Happy New Year!


4 people like this
Posted by Tde
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 31, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Yo Jerry.... Don’t count your chickens before they hatch buddy boy..... this fight may not be over


1 person likes this
Posted by Mary G
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 31, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Yep, I hope what the new names show is that we are done with this ridiculous exercise and never have to deal with it again!


1 person likes this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 31, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@History buff

It wasn't my committee, and I never impugned Fred Terman's reputation. I agree that the statements you cite were tendentious in tone and should not have been part of the discussion. I was not aware of them until late in the process. Discussion about Fred Terman was an unnecessary distraction from the thrust of the committee's work. The report has one "on the one hand, on the other hand" paragraph in Section 4.3.1 that is the focus of many opponents to the whole renaming investigation and recommendations. In the context of the whole report, in which great effort was taken to ensure that all positions taken in the course of our deliberations were part of the official record, I would say that your objections were acknowledged there and also in oral presentations to the board. All I can do at this point is to direct Town Square readers to read the entire report. And maybe reread my previous post in which I spoke to the strength of support for Fred Terman as a seminal figure in Silicon Valley culture.

Happy New Year!


9 people like this
Posted by Tde
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 31, 2017 at 6:47 pm

This issue must be put on the ballot..... this is the people’s/voters decision...... not some incompetent school board.....


2 people like this
Posted by Jordan 1970
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 1, 2018 at 1:17 am

"All I can do at this point is to direct Town Square readers to read the entire report."

No, I'm not going to read the entire report. My time is too precious to fritter away on such a banality.


6 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 1, 2018 at 7:43 am

@Mr. Underdal, apologies, I did not mean to imply that you controlled the committee - I meant "your committee" in the sense of "the committee you were a member of."

The handling of Fred Terman in the report creates doubt of the objectivity of the committee and the rest of the report. This is the problem of putting advocates on a committee like that - the result is unlikely to be objective research. Hopefully a warning to designers of future efforts. History is a valuable tool - a treasure trove of facts, examples, and experiments we can learn from if only we take the time and trouble. Thank for you acknowledging the problem.


3 people like this
Posted by Terman parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 1, 2018 at 10:55 am

@Resident, it's interesting to assume that I only told my children of L. Terman's eugenics history and none of his accomplishments, making him out to be a monster. That's incorrect and a too-easy way to dismiss the real damage that can be done to children when they attend a school named after a person who fought against their existence because he found them unworthy.

I not only talked about the good and bad of L. Terman but also the good and bad of people we're learning about because of the #MeToo movement and to people like Roman Polanski and Woody Allen--do we separate the art from the person? Do we still go see a Polanski film and add money to his wallet though we believe he raped young girls? That's a decision everyone has to make on their own, and one I didn't answer for my kids.

My kids, on their own, drew the line at having their school named after L. Terman. I draw the line there too. Yes, there's good and bad to every person. But we're talking about a school, and someone who believed many of the students at that school are unworthy because of race, disability, etc. L. Terman isn't a monster--he achieved many things worthy of honoring. But his name doesn't belong on a school.


6 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 1, 2018 at 12:11 pm

History is history and it should be taught in schools. Prominent founders of Silicon Valley are just that. They are major fugures in our area’s history. That is a fact.
I can appreciate some concern over *any* eugenics interest or promotion by those whose names are featured on Palo Alto public schools, however, I think in the greater context of 2018 the names should remain.
It’s reasonable to teach history, including local recent history of Silicon Valley and the personalities who were crucial to the development of this important tech sector. I personally find having a re-naming committee to be unnecessary and I don’t agree with using my tax money towards re-naming our schools.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm

@Terman Parent

Raping girls was never legal or ever accepted by science.

Eugenics was never illegal and the scientific community looked on the possibility of using eugenic theories. The theory was an evolution of thought and idea, subsequently dropped and not a practice hidden away. Putting those who were involved in the scientific thought process that was eugenics is absolutely nothing like what Polanski and others did to serve their own personal sexual appetite and then hide and deny the actions.

Putting Polanski and Terman into the same light is showing a complete lack of understanding of the difference between scientific ideas and illegal sexual activity. There is no correlation between the two. I understand that you find the theory of eugenics abhorrent, as I myself do, but I don't see sexual predators as a legitimate comparison.


3 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

@Terman Parent, again, gently, I ask what you mean that L. Terman "person who fought against the existence" of your children? Unless their parents or grandparents were institutionalized mental patients or sex offenders, he did not - we agree that's who the CA sterilization laws focused on. He was indeed a racist who bemoaned the higher birth rate of people he looked down on, but saying he "fought against their existence" is inaccurate I believe.

I'm not a fan of L. Terman, as I've said, but I think it weakens your case to exaggerate what he did. Personally I'd be more than happy to see the school simply named from Fred Terman, a true giant among educators.


5 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 1, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Let me change the subject a little. I'm concerned with the easy dismissal of eugenics as something that was silly science, seen by all now as clearly wrong, but thank goodness we've beyond it and right-thinking people agree it was a misguided, quirky movement of a century ago that fortunately can be ignored because it has no impact on the present.

Not so fast. Don't we still have a problem with some Americans feeling that other Americans just aren't up to the mark at the gene level? Isn't there still a general belief that "race" is a biological reality when in fact it's a socially constructed notion that has had devastating real world consequences and does to this day? We have the eugenics movement to thank, not for harsh racist beliefs and practices that go back centuries, but for the eugenicists' more genteel "scientific racism" developed by elites enthusiastic over the explanatory power of Darwin's theory of evolution and Mendel's studies of peas.

Renaming a couple of schools in a mid-size California city isn't going to make a big difference, but it may be a start to a broader awareness that the common notion of racial hierarchy and misunderstanding of the interplay between genes and the environment must be addressed and corrected if this nation is to move forward to achieve its potential in the post-colonial, multipolar world we live in.

Happy New Year!


3 people like this
Posted by Terman parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 1, 2018 at 5:24 pm

@Resident, that’s not at all what I was saying. I’m not drawing a comparison between eugenics and rape. I’m saying that all people are complex, both good and bad, and it’s up to each of us to decide where we draw the line in honoring people (or enjoying their films or art) who have a side we find abhorrent. I took the opportunity to teach my children about L. Terman and broadened that discussion to include the moral dilemmas we face with the #MeToo movement, Polanski, etc.

@HistoryBuff, would it be better if instead I wrote “someone who believed our community would be better if they didn’t exist?”

I think Jerry Underdal brings up an important context to this discussion that so far has been missing.


4 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 1, 2018 at 5:32 pm

I don't know why you say that. If you've seen supporting evidence, I would be pleased to take a look to learn more. Based on what I have read, you one could say he looked down on many other ethnic groups, preferred white people, wanted segregation, etc., but I haven't seen anything that said he wanted other ethnic groups to not exist, sought to exterminate them, etc.


4 people like this
Posted by Terman parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 1, 2018 at 8:20 pm


@HistoryBuff:
"he viewed homosexuality and gender non-conformity as “abnormal” and a sign of inferior intelligence and grounds for sterilization." Web Link

17% of PAUSD students identify as LGBTQ according to the most recent CHK survey (I believe it was the CHK survey but it may have been a different one). Even more of our students are gender non-conforming.

The PAUSD report also documents the racism and segregation you refer to.
(just one quote)
L. Terman wrote:
"The writer predicts that when this is done there will be discovered enormously significant racial differences in general intelligence, differences which cannot be wiped out by any scheme of mental culture.
Children of this group should be segregated in special classes and be given instruction which is concrete and practical. They cannot master abstractions, but they can often be made efficient workers, able to look out for themselves. There is no possibility at present of convincing society that they should not be allowed to reproduce, although from a eugenic point of view they constitute a grave problem because of their unusually prolific breeding."

I think we disagree on how we interpret that quote. "...from a eugenic point of view they constitute a grave problem," to me means that he wishes Mexicans, Jews, etc., wouldn't have so many children. (I didn't say he sought to exterminate certain races. One can wish certain people didn't exist without seeking to exterminate them.) Separately, regarding segregation, my belief is that when you segregate a group of people because you believe they are inferior, that's an act of forbidding those people to exist in certain public spaces.

Regardless, though we may disagree on how to interpret L. Terman's beliefs given the above quote, or we may disagree on the meaning of "exist," I don't think it's debatable that L. Terman did not want LGBTQ people or those with disabilities to procreate.

I welcome your thoughts.


3 people like this
Posted by Jordan 1970
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 2, 2018 at 1:25 am

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2018 at 11:06 am

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


14 people like this
Posted by Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 3, 2018 at 8:40 am

Clunge is a registered user.

We need to stop trying to ERASE history. Instead, teach kids that what you think is great now, may one day be the furthest thing from great in the future... eating boogers for example (although some scientists believe it helps fight disease).

Beer, once a great way to calm my nerves after a day of teaching, has been replaced by whiskey - cause kids are worse now than ever.


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Posted by Tde
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 3, 2018 at 9:29 am

Well said....Isn’t that the truth!!!!!!z


5 people like this
Posted by Gunn parent
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 3, 2018 at 8:19 pm

I would vote for "Schooly McSchoolface" but it doesn't meet the guidelines. And naming after any person is awkward as nobody can anticipate how harshly the future will judge the eminent of today. After all, in the 1930s, who could have imagined that Jordan would someday be considered an unsuitable person after whom to name a school? And who would have thought that of Terman in the 1950s? Yet here we are.

It's clearly safer to pick a name based on "the geographic area in which the school is located" -- perhaps Unaffordable Middle School? or Traffic Jam Middle School?


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2018 at 10:02 pm

How far away does a school with the same name have to be? How about Foothill (for Terman-- nearest Foothill Middle School is in Walnut Creek I think) and Sempervirens (for Jordan-- I don't know of another one). Laurel? (I don't see any close), Live Oak (fairly popular, there are a number around), Madrone (a couple in the north bay I think).




2 people like this
Posted by OriginalNative
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 4, 2018 at 3:57 am

The conservative movement has never quite understood the concept of tolerance or the idea of giving people who do not think, look and act like you a voice. “Political correctness” and “snowflake generation” are just meaningless, empty headed Fox News talking points from TV, not scholarly literature. This next generation may end up being more capable, tolerant and innovative than you can even imagine. And they don’t care which bathroom you use. You can be offended by racist notions/histories and still be hard as nails, a staunch advocate and work diligently with dedication to make a better society. As a native woman (not some faux newcomer “native” Palo Alton) but a real native of the land you people renamed our land over and over with zero concern for our person so don’t get all snowflake on us now. You turn a blind eye to the earasure of our history as well as most people of color. It’s okay for each generation to redefine itself. Old people need to make way for change. So what if it’s renamed 50 years from now - you’ll all be dead and gone. We really need to stop leading from the grave. This anti-American mob mentality that if a predominately white society votes for something then majority rules all-else-be-damned mentality is what divides our society. If that were the case we would still have slavery, Jim Crow laws and LGBTQ folks would be burned at the stake. It’s pure ignorance to argue “we should keep an offensive name even if it only offends a few people.” You got it all wrong. We should include all voices and find common ground when a minority of our community is harmed/offended. This is how a divided society heals and grows. Now you can side with the more provoking, adolescent talking points and insult the school board for their evolution or you can stand in the right side of history where our new consciousness is tearing down confederate statues, renaming common grounds and striving for an inclusive, equitable society. What harm to you if there’s a name change? The offensiveness (not the feigned offensiveness raised here) should be addressed. The real snowflakes are the ones kicking and screaming holding on to the long forgotten past, not making way for the next generation of diverse students - who are now a majority in CA. So it’s not a matter of if there will be name changes, it’s a matter of when. I suggest people strap on their seat belts, get socially justice literate and get used to the equitable change that’s coming. Like it or not - Black, native, female, trans, immigrant voices are rising and we are the ones who will make our society more just. [Portion removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Mvresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 4, 2018 at 9:05 am

Mvresident2003 is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Admittedly there are narrow-minded comments on this thread and of course social justice and change in general are things to be regarded. But you have entirely missed the point of the majority of those who caution about "erasing history". I suggest you go back and read the very thoughtful and insightful comments in this regard.


5 people like this
Posted by Stanford Alum
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 4, 2018 at 9:06 am

I imagine it is difficult for those of you who oppose the change of school names to put yourself in the place of a Black child who lives in a predominantly White neighborhood, growing up knowing that they are different and suspecting that it is something beyond just skin color, something cultural, something wrong with them. I imagine you don’t know what it is like to have to give your child a talk about why they are treated differently by some of the adults and the other children around them. You can’t know what it feels like to get that talk--to be told not to argue or get angry or show any bad behavior when being called the “N” word or told racist jokes or being excluded from activities other kids participate in because you “wouldn’t fit in” or you’re not friends. You cannot know the harm that is inflicted by learning of your ancestor’s enslavement, the discrimination faced by your parents and grandparents and the self-doubt and fear that begins to well up in yourself. You can’t understand, or can you? Would it matter if it were your child being reminded that they have to work harder to prove that they are just as good?

Some long dead person’s name on a neighborhood school doesn’t seem like a big deal to you until it’s time to change it. It is time to change the names. It is time for enlightened people to say we will not carry oppressive thoughts or actions into our future. We are an enlightened community. We can do better and we must do better.
Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. The past can never be erased but we can improve our future.

I attended Stanford University at a time when William Shockley, another noted proponent of eugenics and a Nobel Prize winner, was a professor there. I never quite felt safe and never rested assured that there weren’t others who held his beliefs and would challenge me to prove their point. I lived with the self-doubt and fear, with the names on the buildings and the paintings in the hallways of dead white men who all sent a message, “you don’t belong here.”

Even these comments will remain into the future. Don’t let your name be associated with the continued oppression of groups of people.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2018 at 9:29 am

Reading through some of these comments anyone would think this is a very divisive community which is far from the truth. I really think that anyone who lives in Palo Alto and wants to feel part of the community manages to do so. I think we are a very inclusive community. Among my friends and neighbors I have good relationships and close friendships with people of all backgrounds, skin colors, ethnicities, races or whatever you want to call it. I don't know anyone who feels that they are excluded or different. When we have international day at school, everyone seems really interested in sharing cultures, stories, traditions, etc. from all over the world.

I think this is the way we should judge the schools not by the names of who they honor. The reality is that anyone who feels that the school name is going to make a child feel uncomfortable is ignoring the fact that the schools welcome and celebrate all different backgrounds.

If these schools were named after Jordan and Terman because of their work on eugenics I might agree. However, the schools were named for other achievements in education, science and technology and that is what they are honoring. These people, like most of us, have more than one string in their bow. They need to be celebrated because of the good things they have done which far outweigh their now outdated views on eugenics.

Our schools have many problems but they don't have a problem with division along racial lines. In fact, in an area as diverse as ours, we are shaming the views of those who held eugenic viewpoints because we are proving them so wrong.

Instead of the money, time and effort being wasted on name changes we should not worry about dishonoring the memory of past individuals and start putting more effort into sorting out the real problems.

If we stopped mentioning any of the namesakes on any of the schools on the websites and just used the name as a name, we would be better off. If we don't, is someone going to start being just as concerned about the Paly mascot being a brutal invader and the Gunn mascot a contraceptive. Who knows what the next name battle will be about.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2018 at 10:16 am

>> If we stopped mentioning any of the namesakes on any of the schools on the websites and just used the name as a name, we would be better off. If we don't, is someone going to start being just as concerned about the Paly mascot being a brutal invader and the Gunn mascot a contraceptive. Who knows what the next name battle will be about.

Or, we could rename all the schools after native trees, in keeping with one of the major themes of this city, instead of any person. And, while we are at it, make sure that some of those native trees are growing on those properties.


8 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 4, 2018 at 11:27 am

One source of information on these two that I just discovered is the book "The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball" by Noam Cohen

It is a real eye-opener about the history of Stanford University, the politics, the business and the culture. It goes into the histories of both Terman and Jordan in regard to several discussions brought up here.

Quite a few key tech figures are discussed, and the nature of the tech industry and where it fits into other efforts. Also explored are the cultural changes in the tech industry and in Palo Alto, though not specifically, pushed by arrogant technocrats and an overview of how the system has evolved, also how it manipulates the public and used taxpayer money.

The death of Jane Stanford was mentioned as well as the the claims and criticisms of IQ tests used to implement federal laws about eugenics. Here is a short excerpt:

The years Terman was starting his research were the high-water mark in the United States for eugenics, the movement that applied Darwin’s ideas about inherited traits and “survival of the fittest” to humanity. The elites who promoted eugenics, including President Jordan of Stanford, were reacting to the influx of poor European and Asian immigrants and an inarticulate sense that, as a result, the population was becoming less intelligent and less moral. In crude terms, eugenics was a plan to ensure that the “right” people were reproducing and that the “wrong” people were not. Most eugenicists focused on the “wrong” side of the equation, so-called negative eugenics, and used the IQ test to identify the “feeble-minded” who needed to be prevented from having children for the sake of the human gene pool, through increased use of birth control, and, in the most extreme cases, forced sterilization, a practice that was endorsed by the Supreme Court in 1927.49

Cohen, Noam. The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball (Kindle Locations 1163-1171). The New Press. Kindle Edition.



4 people like this
Posted by OriginalNative
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 4, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Why is it always the white folks who say we get along with our minorities just fine. That is all fine for a community pot luck but at the kitchen table all over the U.S. - including Palo Alto - historically underrepresented people have a different reality. HUR is code for us black and brown people. What makes you think friendly neighborhood chit chat is going to draw out profound ideological discussions regarding race? That is shallow and naive. Believe me, educated people of color are refraining from stating their real thoughts and holding back. Not me. We are a racially divided country. Face it, address it and learn. To not address inequality and inequity is the biggest part of the problem. Are you so blind that you cannot see the Banon's and Trumps of this world shape policy and world views. Your little bubble is about to be popped by the rising tide of discontent regarding social injustice. You cannot see the increase in neo-nazis and racists. This has real world impact on our kids, not the white kids in the bubble. The sooner the U.S. can grow up and face its past, be accountable for its wrongs and find solutions that are inclusive the better off (and smarter) a people we will be. That includes teaching children our whole history, not just the nice clean sanitized version that make white people feel comfortable. Who is responsible for the erasure of history and scrubbing it clean of the atrocities committed against natives Americans, African slaves and the latino farm workers and the financial value of that contribution in the building of this country? What if we named things Hitler? He was a genius, united his country, a great patriot and an incredible political and war strategist. I hear he was a great guy to have a drink with. People adored him, still do. He did great things for Germany if you look at it historically. But oh, there was that little thing with the Jews in the oven, purging the LGTBQ and eugenics. Although Jewish folks are not a majority we cannot offend them. Naming things Hitler is not a good idea. See how the reasoning works. Now apply it across the board. Sometimes you have to just admit the bad outweighs the good. If you fooled yourself into thinking race is not an issue in Palo Alto I have some swamp..I mean bay front property to sell you, I'll throw in the bridge for free.


17 people like this
Posted by Mvresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 4, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Mvresident2003 is a registered user.

@OriginalNative and Stanford Alum, I highly resent both of your comments. I am one of those "white folk" and I DID grow up in a racially divided community. I was a minority in my school, I had kids dropping pencils on the ground then shoving me and saying "honkie, get down and pick up my pencil". Don't assume and imply the racial divide is one-sided, is isVERY much alive and EQUALLY an issue.

I'm sure at some fairly recent time in history of this great world some/many relatives of mine were held to some level of slavery/subservience. And I will also say this with every bit of surety and confidence; one of the greatest errors the black community continues to make is to hold on to this "history" that not ONE SINGLE LIVING FAMILY MEMBER can remember or even have heard stories from one who did. You discredit your race, you discredit your people and you discredit your children by teaching them they are unable to rise above past history.

Yes Stanford Alum, we can improve our future. It's what generations have done for thousands of years. But dwelling on the past sure as hell isnt the way to do it.


9 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 4, 2018 at 9:23 pm

>> You discredit your race, you discredit your people and you discredit your children by teaching them they are unable to rise above past history.

Mvresident2003 - Whatever your past experience was or whatever you claim it was, that statement is an argument of your own making that no one else has claimed, i.e. a straw argument. [Portion removed.]

And not just that, but just because people cannot remember the past does not mean they are not affected by it.


3 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 4, 2018 at 9:53 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Mvresident2003

" . . .one of the greatest errors the black community continues to make is to hold on to this "history" that not ONE SINGLE LIVING FAMILY MEMBER can remember or even have heard stories from one who did."

This reasoning is why there has been a desperate attempt to record stories of the Holocaust while there are still survivors to tell them. For decades after WWII, little was taught in American schools about the German campaign against people regarded as different, abnormal, deficient, bearers of bad genes and wretched culture. Back then, tens of thousands of survivors--Jews, homosexuals, Roma, Poles, the disabled and others--had tales to tell of their suffering but their stories went largely unheard. Now there are very few. In a few years there will be none.

Is it a mistake for the Jews to try to "hold on to this "history" that not ONE SINGLE LIVING FAMILY MEMBER can remember..." after they're all gone, as you have criticized blacks for doing?


6 people like this
Posted by Mvresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 4, 2018 at 11:31 pm

Mvresident2003 is a registered user.

@CrescenParkAnon; "worst fake arguments". Fascinating that you cannot believe there was/is racism on all sides. I wonder, why can't you accept my facts? your idealism is blindingly...blinding. I actually do remember the past. My family was directly affected by it. My father was passed over multiple times for promotions because his company had to fill certain positions with diversity.

And despite what you're probably going to claim, I don't harbor resentment. MY parents instilled in me the drive to study harder, work harder. They didn't blame the system. And I and my siblings are the stronger for it. But please, do continue to dismiss my very real experiences as absurd because they don't fit your pre conceived, biased views.


5 people like this
Posted by Mvresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 4, 2018 at 11:36 pm

Mvresident2003 is a registered user.

Mr Underdal, please don't misuse my words for your position. I do not say that history shouldn't be remembered. But it should NEVER be an excuse.


2 people like this
Posted by Original Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 5, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Dear Mountain View,

[Portion removed.] Please explain why as a woman of color I statistically make less than my white female counterparts and considerably less than white men? I work hard - doctorate degree, 60 hours a week, early bird and all that but still make less than my less qualified counterparts. So I started my own firm and blew my boss out of the water. Fired him. Would that be reverse racism? See the vestiges of racism haunt us no matter how far removed I am from my native roots. I implore you to visit a native Rez then tell me how the vestiges of conquest do not impact native children today. You see wealth follows families generation after generation. When you are not paid for labor, not allowed to own land or red lined (real thing - google it and learn) it is impossible to pass down wealth and a place in society. Perpetual degradation wears on the human soul, spirit and psyche. Etc., etc...But look it’s not my job to teach you, it’s your job to read. So I will just attack your ridiculous racist comments. What in your racist mind allows you to believe black people/families do not work? All the black families I know work really hard to pay Bay Area rent/mortgages. What line of crap have you been feed that you believe black people do not work? Because of the racist images in the media/movies/fox? They work very hard building businesses, raising families, and establishing lives. What makes you think their efforts should be minimalized and ignored? Proportionately more white people are on welfare, on meth/OxyContin and commit crimes. When I look at the stats look likes a whole lot of white privilege got people jobs, college entrance, rehab instead of prison, and entitlements. The real welfare queens are corporations and many whites. [Portion removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Posted by Mvresident2003 wrote:

>> one of the greatest errors the black community continues to make is to hold on to this "history" that not ONE SINGLE LIVING FAMILY MEMBER can remember or even have heard stories from one who did.

Mvresident2003, I realize now that you must be too young to have been around at the time, but, some of us have been around for that long. Some of the "history" is easily within living memory for a hundred million people. In an earlier post (this is what makes this On Topic), I mentioned the recent renaming of the former Robert E. Lee High School in Houston, Texas. That HS, now renamed "Margaret Long Wisdom HS" (wikipedia) wasn't built and named in -1862-, it was built and named in -1962-, and named to make a point, and, the point was not missed at the time. Nothing "quaint" about it; it was an ugly political message at the time, sent, and, received.

And all those "Confederate Monuments" people have recently been arguing about? Most of them weren't built before, during, or immediately after, the Civil War. Most were built during the Jim Crow era, and then more during the Civil Rights era. Can people living today remember back that far? Definitely. Here is an article and a chart showing the 20th-Century origins of most of them:

Web Link

Web Link

Again, back On Topic on the subject of school naming-- if the names don't matter, then, again, why is it such a big deal? As I said previously, I like trees, a distinguishing feature of Palo Alto.


6 people like this
Posted by Don't. Compound this mistake
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:58 pm

Wow based on the emotion and vitriol in these 154 comments I think confirms my point made at the beginning of the comments. Don't extend this politically correct issue by naming it after a person. It will only invite more discourse and wasted time and money. How about this , name Jordan "Snow" and Terman "Flakes" .! I like it !!


9 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2018 at 5:30 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Since I discussed the racism issue for East Palo Alto in another posting, I do not need to repeat it here. I decided that I will not consider Political Correctness as one of my New Years resolution. SO let the facts fly.

I think that a public screening of " Idiocracy " is in order before any discussion in eugenics is in order. In some cases, the things shown in " Idiocracy " HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED.

In many cases, we already practice eugenics with other animals. The human animal is not different that any other animal.

Originally, WARS were a form of eugenics; the stupid became cannon fodder, the NOBLES got the better weapons and were ( usually ) able to return.
Back in AFRICA, many different tribes fought with each other; the losers were kept OR SOLD AS SLAVES. ( check these facts )

Most tribes treated the white people like other opposing tribes. One such tribe decided to attack with all their men. It is a pity that the tribe had never heard of a Gatling Gun. Every male wiped out means effectively no more tribe. That is also a form of eugenics.

If my father and mother WON the Korean War, we would not have to deal with the present craziness of the North Korean dictator. That also would be a form of " bettering the human race " also called eugenics.

How about dealing with past facts and not playing any card? Or is everybody so involved with PC that they do not care just how ignorant ( stupid ) they look to other people?


4 people like this
Posted by OriginalNative
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 5, 2018 at 7:56 pm

So Punisher,

You want to live in some sort of crazy canibalustic world where might is right and we just annihilate the weak? Is that not what Hitler tried? Then under your reasoning men should just be able to grab as many women he can rape and chain up to guarantee his seed is genetically prevalent in the population to ensure the survival of his kinsman and tribe? Yeah....I think your theories are going to work out well. You sound like any other uncivilized madman. This century is so not meant for everyone. Born after your time. But you see somewhere we decided that men should not treat women this way so white women were reconsidered to be human too. Given some dignity and respect. Then we added men of color, women of color and LGBTQ. This is called social justice and human rights. The whole “PC” talking point crap is an artificial construct and racist code for us white people have no more rights. Wah. We feel offended and they took our jobs! What does it mean anyway? White people should have the right to be elitist, sexist, racist, homophobes and who cares whose offended instead of putting in the intellectual man hours reading, learning, listening, gtowing, healing and evolving? I think you sell white folks short. I’m certain they are smart enough to learn perspective, an accurate history and empathy. They can’t all be emperilistic barbarians. See first people ask for their human rights and dignity. Then they protest and demand it. Eventually they pick up a gun and take it. We do not need your permission nor your blessings to be regarded as human. This renaming is the board’s way of giving us back our humanity. This time we asked. See how history works.


7 people like this
Posted by Don't. Conpound this mistake.
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 5, 2018 at 8:35 pm

Members of the renaming committee I hope you are reading all these comments closely. Good luck in your decision. My guess is that you are going to be hoisted on your own petard.


13 people like this
Posted by Mvresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 5, 2018 at 9:48 pm

Mvresident2003 is a registered user.

@OriginalNative, so many things, where do I begin.

1) I definitely feel your anger, I wish we could have a discussion without the vitriol and snarky comments.

2) I’m not male, I’m a female and I also experienced discrimination in the workplace. I worked 15+ years in lower management in a Fortune 5 company and had to fight like hell to break through a very
solid good-ole-boy network. Sucked but I didn’t complain, just did my best to break through and I hope/think I broke down some walls for those coming after me.

3). Red lined. Well, if that’s happened to you then I suggest you get an attorney, you’ve got one helluva a case.

4). You claim I stated “black families won’t work”. Never, ever did I say anything to that effect. Never. Show it where I did. Please don’t misrepresent my statements to suit your commentary.

5). More whites on welfare; I don’t have facts to disprove or support this. I agree that welfare and oxytocin are huge issues. I guess this is the major point where we differ. I stand by my comment before but I’ll rephrase it. The greatest disservice ANY group does for its members is to continually tell them they’re a victim, they’ve never been given a fair chance. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy that’s been working pretty damn well for the last 40 years.

6). Being called a honkie; it was a very eye-opening, and very scary, experience. I can assure you it wasn’t Fox, don’t think they were
around in the 80’s. And my Father did indeed experience reverse discrimination.

Can we not agree that there are injustices everywhere? Or are you just the “special one” that deserves more consideration?

Peace out.


9 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 6, 2018 at 9:20 am

We are changing the names to give the female students and students of color back their humanity, because if we don’t they will pick up guns and what, riot in the streets of Palo Alto?

This represents the arbitrary nature of the renaming. The significance attached to it is freely associated; the connection to the renaming of most of the arguments for the change is weak or nonexistent.

Then everyone is beat over the head with how bad a particular arbitrary unfairness or injustice is; or how immoral or incorrect a scientific thought is. These things were bad, and renaming doesn’t do a thing about it because.the connection is too weak.

The logic of doing something to help right a wrong or fix a problem is missing in this whole episode.

We don’t know what the new name will be, and decide we don’t want the old name - it’s as if we need to stop the bleeding immediately. How do we know the new name won’t also allow for freely associated bundles of emotion that can be construed as offensive by some?

Was there ever a student who felt that “jeez, i’m Not treated fairly by the school because of my race and even it’s name is Terman?”

Hence the conclusion by so many that this is PC run amuck; an exercise in testing power for its own sake.



1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Posted by Reason
a resident of Fairmeadow
3 hours ago

We are changing the names to give the female students and students of color back their humanity, because if we don’t they will pick up guns and what, riot in the streets of Palo Alto?

This represents the arbitrary nature of the renaming. The significance attached to it is freely associated; the connection to the renaming of most of the arguments for the change is weak or nonexistent.

Then everyone is beat over the head with how bad a particular arbitrary unfairness or injustice is; or how immoral or incorrect a scientific thought is. These things were bad, and renaming doesn’t do a thing about it because.the connection is too weak.

The logic of doing something to help right a wrong or fix a problem is missing in this whole episode.

>> We don’t know what the new name will be, and decide we don’t want the old name - it’s as if we need to stop the bleeding immediately. How do we know the new name won’t also allow for freely associated bundles of emotion that can be construed as offensive by some?

Good point. That is why it would be better if Middle Schools 1, 2, and 3 were not named after people. Naming a public building after a person is inherently political, and, the political winds will eventually change direction.

>> Hence the conclusion by so many that this is PC run amuck; an exercise in testing power for its own sake.

Please let your reasoning in paragraph #1 stand on its own. Throwing in a "PC" expletive just discredits your own argument.


3 people like this
Posted by Kids
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 7, 2018 at 12:50 am

@jordan teacher

Eugenics was not "common" or even accepted or known by most. It is a mistake to rate levels of hatred or to marginalized this past horror. Naming aside, I hope your students can see how an idea followed by many can seem normal and acceptable. I hope the slant of this disruption can still be a positive learning situation. Kids need to understand they are not better than people they are different from and they need to understand that this past hatred with followers could happen again .


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 7, 2018 at 2:08 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

"Originally, WARS were a form of eugenics; the stupid became cannon fodder, the NOBLES got the better weapons and were (usually ) able to return. "

David Starr Jordan, one of the earliest eugenicists, disagreed on this point. He felt that war was dysgenic, that it brought a deterioration of hereditary qualities in offspring. His reasoning was that people with the best genes were more likely to respond to the call to defend the nation, leaving those with inferior genes in the population to breed at will. His brother had enlisted and died in the Civil War.

Better known in Palo Alto in recent decades as a leader of the peace movement than as a eugenicist, he was not a pacifist. In fact, after Woodrow Wilson changed course and declared war on Germany Jordan reversed course and became an ardent advocate of winning this "war to end wars."


2 people like this
Posted by Tde
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 7, 2018 at 2:07 pm

So what’s your point??


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Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 7, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

To show that eugenics is misunderstood, as is Jordan’s record as a peace advocate. As many have said, don’t lose the history.


6 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2018 at 9:02 pm

@Jordan Teacher

If you want to participate in the discussion I would suggest you make an effort to understand the discussion. @anon is not too intellectual, but spot on in their comments. Hope you do not represent the sentiment of the majority of teachers. Would be a sad day if they held your views - what does that say about your attitude towards special ed students, or students of color?


2 people like this
Posted by kids
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 18, 2018 at 10:38 am

Why don't we ask the women and men that were sterilized? we can not talk to the thousands of children they were denied I guess because they were denied life. The people who think taking this opportunity to throw out the idea of a master race need to read more about these men. Trying to rate evil or saying this was normal for its time is wrong. It is a great opportunity to teach the kids that this type of hatred can not be tolerated . They also need to see how normal people get swept up in hatred so they can avoid it themselves. Honestly, if I could change one thing, it would be to get rid of the rubrics where kids are told what they have to memorize and what their intelligence and grades are based on. That is training groups of children to be followers and not leaders. I am not sure if the change is really needed, but giving the kiddos historic facts, chances to discuss the actual matter and more historic facts would be a great thing. I would like them to be able to discuss the topic intelligently and form their own opinions rather than just following sentiments without informing themselves. Rubrics have a way of limiting and controlling thought.


3 people like this
Posted by Left-Turn-Too-Much
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 22, 2018 at 11:47 pm

Left moved too much on this non-sense topic.

If you want to remove our history, you should not teach the history at all. You should remove George Washington from our history because he was a major slave owner. This reminds me the Chinese Culture Revolution from 1966 - 1976. The extreme left party tried to call people names and remove all history of religion, culture, art, science.

The country now is reverse discrimination against whites or other majorities. If you are black or Hispanic you must be a victim. If you are white, you must be a racist or white supremacist. How our great country became this race divided? Democratic Party is totally responsible to this ridiculous move because they just want the votes from those races to win election. There wasn't any harm to anyone before few people jump out and cried as victims. Have you think about all other people's thoughts?

I'm not going to donate a single penny to PAUSD because the board doesn't deserve my respect to manage our hard earn money. I don't want them to waste our money on this made up racist issue. The money should be used on real education.


5 people like this
Posted by New Names
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 23, 2018 at 12:01 am

We should name the school 001, 002, 003.
Oh wait, who wants to be #2 or #3.

Let's name them north, central and south.
Again wait, someone doesn't like going south?

Let's use colors to be neutral. Don't like RED as it is a communist color? Hmm, some colors could be racist.

How about a random word. This means everything is equal.

WHAT A MESSED UP WORLD!


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2018 at 9:35 am

Posted by Left-Turn-Too-Much, a resident of Palo Verde:

>> Left moved too much on this non-sense topic.

Is there still a need for more discussion on this topic? Apparently.

>> If you want to remove our history, you should not teach the history at all. You should remove George Washington from our history because he was a major slave owner.

My suggestion is that you read the Ron Chernow's book "Washington". It will probably change your view of Washington.

Jumping forward to the Civil War, the South acknowledged that, in fact, the Founders all thought that slavery would disappear. From a famous speech by a secessionist politician regarding slavery:

"It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time."

For some more history about how all this played out, I suggest reading "Team of Rivals" by Doris Kearns Goodwin (about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War).

>>This reminds me the Chinese Culture Revolution from 1966 - 1976. The extreme left party tried to call people names and remove all history of religion, culture, art, science.

Was the Cultural Revolution driven by the "extreme right" or the "extreme left"? The reality is that it was driven by extreme authoritarians.

>> The country now is reverse discrimination against whites or other majorities.

What "other majorities" are you talking about? Isn't there one "majority"?

--

I think that you are trying to claim that people want to re-write history by re-naming schools? Is that correct?

Well, far from it. People (like me, anyway) want to educate people about history, and that Jordan and Terman had a real impact on history. That they were not merely educators and scientists who made statistical blunders. But rather, that they had significant political activities with serious negative consequences.


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Posted by Say what?
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 23, 2018 at 10:23 am

What we need on this board is someone hired as pr to attack all the straw man arguments posted here.


2 people like this
Posted by Another
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 23, 2018 at 10:54 am

@Anon, glad to see an historical perspective. What do you think of Lincoln? His views today would be labelled "white supremacist" - he believed whites were superior and blacks and whites could not live together (a mainstream view in Illinois at the time, which while a "free" state enacted stringent "black laws"). His preferred solution was expatriation of ex-slaves to Central America, a scheme he actively pursued over the years. He was unalterably anti-slavery, no doubt, thinking it debased both the slave and the owner, but that doesn't change that his long-held and widely articulated views about African Americans would be unacceptable and deplorable today.

What should we do about Lincoln?


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2018 at 11:33 am

Posted by Another, a resident of Adobe-Meadow:

>> @Anon, glad to see an historical perspective. What do you think of Lincoln?

Read "Team of Rivals". That book -almost- perfectly encapsulates my view, although it avoids the touchy subject of Lincoln's many actions regarding Native Americans.

>> His views today would be labelled "white supremacist" (etc.)

Lincoln didn't articulate a single set of views in his lifetime, although he did always hate slavery. Read the book. The more people read and learn about Lincoln, the better.

>> his long-held and widely articulated views about African Americans would be unacceptable and deplorable today.

Not exactly. Let me turn it around and ask what Frederick Douglass thought of Lincoln. His views regarding Lincoln changed drastically between 1861 and 1865.

Web Link

>> What should we do about Lincoln?

Read the book! Personally, I'm looking forward to celebrating Lincoln's Birthday on February 12th.

--

When Mary Todd Lincoln was gathering her belongings to leave the White House after the death of her husband, she decided to give his favorite walking cane to a man she knew the martyred President highly valued as a friend and partner in the cause of liberty. And she was sure the recipient returned that regard. She said to her dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckley, “I know of no one that would appreciate this more than Frederick Douglass.”


1 person likes this
Posted by Left-Turn-Too-Much
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 23, 2018 at 12:21 pm

to Anon,

Chinese Culture Revolution was driven by extreme left, please read the history. They call others "right party" and beat them to death. If you have ever lived in the county, you will know it better and you will not say "it was driven by extreme authoritarians". Currently the D party is driving almost everything by their emotion not facts. Creating race gaps and enlarge them.

What we should do here is to keep the history and teach our children about it and do not repeat the history. By removing all the history from our society will lead our ignorant kids not knowing what had happened in the past.

Look at why Donald Trump got elected. People are tired of being "Politically Correctness"! However, they are afraid to speak out. So they vote for they voice. We will see in the mid-term and 2020 elections. Trump definitely is not a good politician and not behave as many people expected. However, he did expressed many people's voices which were suppressed by certain minorities.

When I talk about "Majorities", there are several different categories. Race, Sex and Religion. Each of them has majorities in the United States. When someone holds what he/she believes, it can be forced to change their view because some minorities are offended by their believes.


1 person likes this
Posted by Another
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 23, 2018 at 1:38 pm

@Anon, thanks for the advice. Yes, I have read the book. It covers a lot; what does it say that "perfectly encapsulates your views" on Lincoln's position on white supremacy?

I think you are mistaken about Lincoln changing his views. He did hit it off with Douglass, but I don't believe there is anything in the record that shows he rejected white supremacy or sought an outcome other than expatriation. He had a black friend, yes - isn't that a cliche?

As Douglass said (in the link you supplied): "In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man. He was preeminently the white man’s President, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men." He also had many good traits, as Douglass allows.

I'm not sure why people apologize for/deny about Lincoln so much, aside from the fact that we have been taught to admire him for his many good traits, and can't accept that his views could be so out of step with ours. But history is what it is, and he was an anti-slavery white supremacist, as part of his public, political positions, during his adult life. That feel uncomfortable, but that's the kind of discomfort history forces us to face.


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Posted by Incompetence
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 23, 2018 at 3:47 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2018 at 4:53 pm

Posted by Another, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

Another, I'm afraid we could write many pages on this subject. I have to keep it somewhat brief:

>> what does it say that "perfectly encapsulates your views" on Lincoln's position on white supremacy?

You must have a different understanding of "white supremacy" than I do. The book demonstrates exactly what Douglass understood, and which he stated in that very statement that you quoted from, which was that Lincoln performed a remarkable feat:

"Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined…

"Taking him for all in all, measuring the tremendous magnitude of the work before him, considering the necessary means to ends, and surveying the end from the beginning, infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln."

>> I'm not sure why people apologize for/deny about Lincoln so much, aside from the fact that we have been taught to admire him for his many good traits, and can't accept that his views could be so out of step with ours.

I think you have it turned around. Lincoln performed a remarkable feat, and before his first term was up, the 13th Amendment was passed. But Lincoln was not just about that political victory. He had a remarkable ability to communicate with large audiences, discussing policy, and with individuals. “Here comes my friend Douglass.”

>> But history is what it is, and he was an anti-slavery white supremacist, as part of his public, political positions, during his adult life. That feel uncomfortable, but that's the kind of discomfort history forces us to face.

As the cliche' says, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." I'm not up for hero worship. Lincoln was not perfect, but, he was ahead of his time. The Dakota War of 1862 was instructive.

Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Posted by Left-Turn-Too-Much, a resident of Palo Verde:

>>> Chinese Culture Revolution was driven by extreme left, please read the history. They call others "right party" and beat them to death. If you have ever lived in the county, you will know it better and you will not say "it was driven by extreme authoritarians".

There is an old saying, "extremes meet". A more sophisticated version is the political compass (still oversimplified, as it only has two dimensions):

Web Link

If you are really interested in the subject, go to "scholar.google.com" and enter "right wing authoritarianism altemeyer".

It might also interest you to know that during the waning days of the Soviet Union, the hard-line communists were referred to as "the right". Was Mao of "the left" or "the right"? One thing for sure is, he wasn't "liberal", he didn't support "liberty", and, he liked the color "red". The truth is that the Cultural Revolution was authoritarian, and overall, Mao's reign was the single most murderous in the history of world:

Web Link

>> Currently the D party is driving almost everything by their emotion not facts. Creating race gaps and enlarge them.

What is your source for this statement?

>> What we should do here is to keep the history and teach our children about it and do not repeat the history. By removing all the history from our society will lead our ignorant kids not knowing what had happened in the past.

I'm very interested in history and I agree it should be taught. Here are a few biographies that encompass various aspects of earlier American history.

Web Link

Benjamin-Franklin-American-Walter-Isaacson/dp/074325807X
John-Adams-David-McCullough/dp/0743223136
Washington-Life-Ron-Chernow/dp/0143119966
Alexander-Hamilton-Ron-Chernow/dp/0143034758
Team-Rivals-Political-Abraham-Lincoln/dp/0743270754


3 people like this
Posted by Why.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 23, 2018 at 6:46 pm

There seem to be at least two posters on this thread who think that the renaming is a good idea and the right thing to do.

Neither acknowledges that Lincoln was, without subtlety or complexity, in his own very clear and certain words, a racist.

Because the resulting cognitive dissonance would force them to realize that this effort is PC run amuck. Which they currently deny with passion.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2018 at 10:47 pm

Posted by Why. a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> Neither acknowledges that Lincoln was, without subtlety or complexity, in his own very clear and certain words, a racist.

I think Frederick Douglass described Lincoln in a way that should make it clear how Lincoln moved the country, and the world, forward. That can't be said of Jordan and Terman. Are you trying to make some kind of moral equivalency between Lincoln and Jordan or Terman?

>> Because the resulting cognitive dissonance would force them to realize that this effort is PC run amuck. Which they currently deny with passion.

Once again, "PC" is the giveaway.


2 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 25, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Left-Turn-Too-Much

I appreciate your reference to the Cultural Revolution, hard-line Maoists’ desperate attempt to destroy thousands of years of Chinese history and culture. However, I don’t think the analogy of that event to PAUSD’s re-examination of the legacy of prominent local eugenicists holds up on close examination.

No one in Palo Alto or at Stanford has stepped forward to express support for Jordan, Terman and Cubberley’s activities to embed Nordic European supremacy and other eugenicist
notions about who’s fit and unfit to reproduce or participate fully in our democracy. Their history has been resurrected, not thrown away as a result of this community effort to make school names match the values of our public school system.

Post-Mao China has seen a resurgence of interest and support for elements of Chinese culture that the Gang of Four sought to suppress. In the American case, even White Nationalists, whose views on race closely align with those of David Starr Jordan, are unlikely to claim Jordan as one of their own, not when they realize that the eugenicists’ disdain extended to many “whites” as well as racial minorities.

Thanks for extending the breadth of discussion in this thread.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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