Palo Altans debate: 'What's in a name?' | March 23, 2018 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 23, 2018

Palo Altans debate: 'What's in a name?'

School renaming sparks protest, division

by Elena Kadvany and Jocelyn Dong

With less than a week to go until the Palo Alto Unified Board of Education is scheduled to decide on new namesakes for two of the district's middle schools, a last-minute protest by members of the city's Chinese community has stirred up arguments that have dogged the process from its beginning in 2015.

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Comments

14 people like this
Posted by TTurner
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:26 am

TTurner is a registered user.

You have the Date of Pearl Harbor incorrect


75 people like this
Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:35 am

Eugenics is alive and well in Palo Alto.

The essence of eugenics is to judge people by their heredity rather than their potential or contributions. An ancient form of this is to judge people by their tribe, clan, parentage or surname.

The board decided to remove Fred Terman's name from the school because of his name and now-disgraced father.

Now, we find that a portion of the community is objecting to Fred Yamamoto on account of his surname shared with a Japanese admiral.

The underlying truth here is that we should be treating these people, and everyone else, as individuals and not based on their heredity.

Both Fred Terman and Fred Yamamoto are fully worthy of being honored with the their name on a school, or any other honor we might choose to give them.

Let's recognize that this is eugenics in action and honor both of these individuals.


5 people like this
Posted by jpadojino
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:36 am

jpadojino is a registered user.

@TTurner Thank you for pointing this out. The story has been updated to reflect the correct year.


311 people like this
Posted by Chris Gaither
a resident of Mayfield
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:40 am

The whole discussion about renaming the schools is a waste of time. The PAUSD should be concentrating on educating the students, and not discussing a name given to a school years ago. How can any student or person feel that a name of a school associated with a person who had biased beliefs affect their ability to learn. The history of this country is just that, our history. There are good and honorable parts, and there are disgraceful parts. Humans have been fickle through the history of the world. Still, there is something that we can learn from everyone. Stop this non-sense, and get on with ensuring that every Palo Alto student receives an equal and quality education.


68 people like this
Posted by Katie
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:43 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


251 people like this
Posted by Charade
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:50 am

It is totally a waste of resources to change the school names. There is more important issues need to be addressed in PAUSD other than changing school names. If I told you that BMW, Mercedes, VW used 300,000 concentration camp slaves (most of them were probably killed in the gas chambers later) during WWII, are you going dump those cars? (or maybe buy Japanese cars, LOL) Why can't you live with the schools that named after Lewis Terman, Fred Terman, David Starr Jordan? It's HISTORY!!!


29 people like this
Posted by Racism--the community killer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:52 am

Racism--the community killer is a registered user.

Let's know and judge people as individuals who each make their own unique contributions to community. Surname or race does not define a individual. If we take nothing else away from this discussion, I hope we will take that.


268 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:58 am

This is precisely why it would be better to not name the schools after people. Someone's feelings will always get hurt and the only people happy will be the small special interest group behind the chosen name.
Yamamoto for many in Asia is like choosing the name "Hitler" for a school attended by jewish students. We know "this" Yamamoto isn't "that" Yamamoto ... but then again "this" Terman isn't "that" Terman either. Same argument applies in both cases.


4 people like this
Posted by Stew Pid
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:17 am

@Charade, time to pull out the grammar textbook.


139 people like this
Posted by Helen Adkins
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:21 am

I've seen people using "racism" "xenophobia", “homophobia” for ethnic groups holding different perspectives. Please stop name calling and start listening to what the real concerns are. The whole renaming drama and others have stirred the community. No more divisions in Palo Alto please. Let's focus on hiring a new superintendent who would actually stay, training our teachers so kids get higher quality education from public schools, improving facilities in our schools, funding field trips and so on. So many good things need our attention and none is dragging more attention than these dramas. What a shame! School board should learn the lesson and move on with geo names. A name is a name! No more time and tax payer money waste on this item for good.


26 people like this
Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:26 am

Dan, can you explain why "Yamamoto" is viewed like choosing the name "Hitler"? According to the article, Isoroku Yamamoto planned the attack on Pearl Harbor, but was against the war in China and had no role in events there such as the Nanking massacre.

What did he personally do in Asia that gets him, and his name, put on the same level as Hitler?

Real question, I don't understand this.


183 people like this
Posted by Katherine
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:27 am

Wow...this is a huge waste of time!! Come on School Board. Just name the schools after a geographical feature....Redwood Grove, Adobe Creek or whatever. Look at the mess this whole renaming thing has created and then the Board wants to go and pick names that stir up such controversy. Yikes! There are so many pressing issues that the PAUSD needs to address and this renaming schools fiasco is not one of them.


55 people like this
Posted by DT North
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:27 am

And if we do go through with this waste of time and money let's also consider, as you would when naming a child, how it "works" in daily use. It won't just be on a sign somewhere. "I go to Zschocke" or "GO ZSCHOCKE!" at a game?? Come on. And the people will never spell it correctly or say it correctly (I say this from experience as someone with a less difficult name than that!) "GO YAMAMOTO" not really so great either. You're apparently offending another whole set of people but at least we can say it and spell it? Is the committee even thinking beyond pedigree of the people to actual daily use of the name?


228 people like this
Posted by Downtown parent
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:34 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


53 people like this
Posted by art
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:41 am

Name the school 'Fred'. Both Fred Terman and Fred Yamamoto were admirable people whose contribution to Palo Alto and to society deserve to be memorialized in the name of the school. I propose Fred Middle School. And who can forget the famous J.Fred Muggs, the chimp whose creative antics were featured on TV for many years. So the school would have a ready made mascot!!


91 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:43 am

@Gunn Parent

WWII history ... Yamamoto was a force behind the Japanese military machine that rampaged through Asia. Look up "rape of Nanjing". This is why Chinese in particular will feel strongly against this choice which is associated with the Japanese Military circa WWII. You are right ... a better analogy than Hitler might be naming the school after "Erwin Rommel" ... same point... perhaps a complicated person, but negative associations dominate.
My view is NOT to name after ANY person if they feel the need to rename the schools.


38 people like this
Posted by jet pilot
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:44 am

Never heard the story before about Fred Yamamoto. However it sure seems like a lovely and richly deserved honor to have our middle school named after him. It would also honor our wonderful and patriotic Japanese-American citizens who were treated so unfairly treated during WWII.


38 people like this
Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:53 am

Please read about Fred Yamamoto. He is a Paly grad, survived an internment camp, and has a purple heart. Web Link

To prevent renaming a school because of someone's last name is ridiculous. Should all of these Yamamotos feel bad because of one person (Web Link) It's like banning Smith, Miller, Wang, Lee...


120 people like this
Posted by Be fair
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:09 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


155 people like this
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Renaming the city schools? How totally silly! Doesn't the Board have anything better to do?


19 people like this
Posted by Arrogant
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Palo Altans are such a spoiled lot. We think and act like entitlement is a gift from heaven. We are one of the most arrogant people on Earth. I am moving to Finland, the 3018 happiest country on the Planet


136 people like this
Posted by jordan teacher
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:23 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


151 people like this
Posted by Roger
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Consider this, the whole renaming process was brought about by a parent who was disturbed by the connection of Jordan and Terman to eugenics. The parent was German, the Hitler connection was the main criteria for his objection. Five years from now this parent may not live in the district anymore, but he succeeded in turning this community upside down.
Yamamoto is causing issues already, forget why, just accept it. If the board can’t recognize this then it helps explain so many of the problems at PAUSD.


8 people like this
Posted by Roger
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Arrogant.
Bon Voyage!!!


111 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm

I think this is the best history/social studies lesson we can give to our kids.

One family gets upset and writes a letter, starts a movement, causes call for change, taken too seriously, discussions, divisions, lack of agreement, lack of sympathy, lack of common sense, too much money, not enough money, smoke screens, pride, lack of pride, lack of compassion, lack of responsibility, online petitions, historical perspective, and so on ad infinitum.

PAUSD is in the business of education children. Period.

No human is perfect. Everyone has flaws. Morality changes. You can't rewrite history.

Here's Palo Alto in a nutshell.


89 people like this
Posted by
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:50 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


103 people like this
Posted by Resident of Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


98 people like this
Posted by Parent of two kids
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:04 pm

It's a bad idea to name schools after a person. Also it's not good to use winner-take-all way to choose among the 6 good role models(as of now). There are many different ways to inspire students using these role models.
But Palo Alto took the most risky way. Do we want to go through this process again? Heck no!

We should stand up from where we tripped, not tripp again!

Save money and time for things that are more important.


82 people like this
Posted by Another Gunn Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:04 pm

You said "To prevent renaming a school because of someone's last name is ridiculous." Really? How about rename our school "Hitler Middle"? Again, those parents proposed many ways to honor that person, they just don't want it to be the school name so they are reminded the pain daily. BTW, the Renaming Committe does not allow Fred Terman just becuase his last name is "Terman".


155 people like this
Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Do our school board members have better things to do? They are wasting our taxpayers' money to do useless things. 99% of our students don't know or care about what Lewis Terman have done long time ago. To satisfy one student and parent, Jordan and Terman are to be renamed, shame on school board. If the names have to be changed, changed to names of location, not any person's name, we don't want to go through this renaming mess again.

I am watching how school board members vote this time, and I will make sure I vote accordingly if they dare to run next time for school board or any other positions.


82 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


87 people like this
Posted by PA homeowner
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Please use Geographical names if we have to rename schools.


166 people like this
Posted by A concerned school parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:20 pm


There are so many conflicted logics in this renaming fiasco: 1. not allowing Fred Terman to be honored because his father is Lewis Terman, yet making racism comment towards Chinese community who protested against 'Yamamoto'; 2. Acknowledging the hurt feeling of some students and parents, while ignoring the larger community (700+ and growing)'s concerns.

As a parent of two students at PAUSD and a taxpayer, I am thoroughly disappointed by the lack of focus, priorities and ability to communicate.

Lastly, whoever suggested that the renaming budget will be $50K is severely incompetent. Across all systems, school communication and historical records, the changes will cost the district hundreds of thousands, if not in millions. Shame on you (district) for not putting investment towards students.


30 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

Apparently the irony that Fred Terman (the son who was unassociated with his father's controversy) was falsely slandered and grouped in with his dad escapes the re-namers.

It was a circular bit of prejudice that started this whole journey to supposed social justice.

Not a problem when the whole racist and sexist rationale is to "dismantle" the white, male power structure that is "holding some of us back."

One might wonder if the actual problem is that original kind of reprehensible thinking coming from the school board VP.

[Portion removed.]

Chinese community - welcome to the basket of deplorables.


23 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:42 pm

I'm so glad I don't live in Palo Alto.


110 people like this
Posted by PA homeowner
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:45 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


78 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2018 at 1:53 pm

From the above post. No more money for PAUSD.

There goes the total cost. Not in the actual money spent on this frivolous issue.

But the real money is in the lack of willingness for the community to vote for any more bonds, parcel tax or anything else the school board deems to ask us for.

Are they really willing to say goodbye to all those future funds?


112 people like this
Posted by PA homeowner
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 20, 2018 at 2:03 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


69 people like this
Posted by Grannie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 2:07 pm

Let the students & parents that want the name changes raise the $ for the change.
This might teach them about budget and planning.
"Geographical" seems most logical for the future.
Best Wishes to all the students.


18 people like this
Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 20, 2018 at 2:15 pm

A nice trivia: there was a brilliant physicist named Walter Hitler, who pioneered the theoretical chemistry via his work on hydrogen molecules. His closest scientist was Fritz London. However, if you googled "London Hitler", you won't get their scientific works at all.

Web Link


18 people like this
Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2018 at 2:39 pm

The most Palo Alto thing about this is that there's a committee that's been meeting for months, made decisions, and then a group who declined to participate at the committee stage suddenly decides at the last minute that they don't like what the committee decided and so we seem to be back to square one. Because here in Palo Alto we have to make sure that everyone - absolutely everyone - is ok with the name of a middle school before we move along.
Please rename the schools "Middle School 2" and "Middle School 3" (don't call one of them Middle School 1 or we'll never hear the end of it) and lets be done with this.
By the way, it wasn't "one parent" who started this, it was hundreds of parents (myself included) who signed a petition. I still think renaming is correct and the process is turning out to be every bit as complicated as anticipated.


53 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 2:47 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

The Recommending Names committee put forward six good candidates, with a strong preference for one. Turns out that a caution flagged by the committee in its report showed foresight, i.e. possible community concern about naming someone whose last name is shared with a WWII Japanese admiral. A large segment of the Asian community that had not previously engaged on the renaming issue stepped forward to demand respect for its sensitivities. Fair enough, though it doesn't lessen Fred Yamamoto's inspiring story, which Palo Altans can't fail to be impressed by. So now the board will have the slightly easier task of selecting 2 out of 5 good candidates instead of 2 out of 6. No reason to argue that Palo Alto should settle for names that no one is particularly excited by: Adobe Creek and Redwood Grove.

What to take from this? Part of it is that Fred Yamamoto maybe would not have made it past the first screening if even one person drawn from recently immigrated Asian families had been on the committee. Not because his story would have been any less compelling to the majority of committee members but because caution over the shared last name would have been pressed more insistently.

First weighted GPA, then sex ed, now concern over a naming choice brought strong Asian participation in the school system to object or lobby on issues of great concern to a significant number of Asian and Asia-American parents. The school board and administrators were taken off-guard in each of these cases at least in part because there are no Asian representatives on the school board, people who would share in the responsibility of running the school district, not just react when an issue or concern of interest to them emerges .

Will anyone step forward in this election cycle to fill that void?


14 people like this
Posted by PC Altan
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2018 at 2:54 pm

PC Altan is a registered user.

Let's PC proof our new school name choices.

1. MLK Middle School for the one in the north
2. Hussein Middle School for the southern one

This whole renaming school thing is a farce.


99 people like this
Posted by No wonder school donations are down
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 2:56 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


12 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

I don't see this point made strongly yet in this thread, so I guess it's up to me.

There was good reason to flag Jordan, Terman (and Cubberley) as unsuitable for the honor of having schools named for them. Please be aware that Stanford has not yet decided how to deal with the problematic legacy of its pioneering figures with schools named for them in Palo Alto. The district has gotten ahead of the university in pointing to their basic teachings. I hope they'll catch up soon and relieve Palo Alto of a "lost cause" movement to restore PAUSD to the glory days when it was inextricably linked to Stanford lions in the field of education, the (negative) eugenicists David Starr Jordan, Lewis Terman and Ellwood Cubberley.

Lots of strong feelings in this thread, not much information. May I suggest a look at the current issue of National Geographic. It's a special issue that focuses on race, one of many elements of difference that (negative) eugenicists associated, to disastrous effect, with notions of fit and unfit genes.


33 people like this
Posted by Palo alto homeowner --
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2018 at 3:22 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


107 people like this
Posted by Jordan Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 20, 2018 at 3:29 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


93 people like this
Posted by Jordan Parent Voice
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


68 people like this
Posted by Catherine
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm

Geographic names are so much better than people names. You never know when something negative might come out about someone previously thought to be of "good and noble" character, and you just don't have that problem as often with places.

Plus: Adobe Creek and Redwood Grove both sound like schools that will enforce a respect for nature and the earth. Who can argue with that?


37 people like this
Posted by Glenn
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Name the school Takemoto - Mr. Takemoto was a fantastic gym teacher at Jordan for years. Much loved. Having graduated from Jordan decades ago, if there is any hope, KEEP the name Jordan. Can this be put up for a vote? I would guess that 80% of the residents (who attended school in Palo Alto) think this a huge waste of $ for political correctness.


87 people like this
Posted by Tyler L. Sean
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 20, 2018 at 4:28 pm

If you dig deep and long enough, you will find dirt about every human being, however honorable or god-like that person has been. So still renaming them after people’s names is pointless.

PAUSD: please name the schools after a creek, a road, or some other geographic names.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Posted by Jerry Underdal, a resident of Barron Park

>> There was good reason to flag Jordan, Terman (and Cubberley) as unsuitable for the honor of having schools named for them. Please be aware that Stanford has not yet decided how to deal with the problematic legacy of its pioneering figures with schools named for them in Palo Alto.

Although he was serious, Jordan's pamphlet/book "The blood of the nation" is almost comical at times. It reads a bit like a Robin Hood story about Anglo-Saxon virtue, and devotes quite a bit of energy to deprecating the French (!), concluding with a discussion of the naturalistic painting by Francois Millet, "Man with a hoe".

I've posted repeatedly about Lewis Terman, so I'll skip that one, but, Elwood Cubberly was peculiar for his insistence on not helping the disabled too much. From a Stanford Daily article on Cubberly Web Link

"Elwood P. Cubberley, a professor and eventual dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education, was also a proponent of eugenics. As an educator, Cubberley believed that children deemed to have greater ability than their peers should be allocated more resources, while the resources given to children with learning and physical disabilities might detract from the goal of cultivating the most “able.”"

"In 1920, Cubberley wrote that “one [child] of superior intellectual capacity … may confer greater benefits upon mankind” than “a thousand of the feeble-minded children upon whom we have recently come to put so much educational effort and expense.”"

Cubberly is no longer a school, but a site. Should it ever reopen as a school, I hope it is under a different name.


41 people like this
Posted by Sara
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 4:40 pm

In Bakersfield, the 5 high schools are named East, West, North, South and (guess what?) Central. No Drams.


82 people like this
Posted by Tyler L. Sean
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 20, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Purely from the monetary perspective, the renaming process is quite costly.

This is not only the money we know will be spent on redoing the signage, records and uniforms of the schools, but also the time people spent discussing/debating about it. The renaming committee said they spent some 2,000 hours on this already.

Concerned parents, students and other community members spent tons of time on this too.

For every 15 minute a person debating about this subject, that could be a barber not cutting someone’s hair; a dry cleaner not cleaning someone’s dress, a computer programmer not coding some software lines.

They are real products/services not being created/provided and as a result, our community is not getting. Those are the real economic costs to us.


61 people like this
Posted by Ex Terman Parent
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 20, 2018 at 4:58 pm

For those of you do not feel surname matters, how about name Terman as Trump Middle School? Now you must have a feeling...just be empathetic.

I do not support renaming of Terman in the first place, but also not against it. If our token of effort can heal the pain of those hurt by eugenic movement, then let it be.

I do have a lot of respect to Japanese people and culture and appreciated school board and naming committee to consider renaming a school after an Asia American showing recognition of their contribution to the community, but surname does matter, especially to those Chinese families with loved ones died in Japanese invasion during WWII. Isoroku Yamamoto is listed as first class war criminals in China.


20 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 20, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Arguably, “Snowflake” family initiated all this nonsense. Any view it this way.
Meanwhile - Again: raising a point and educating the public and school children about community members, the origin of a school’s name and contemporary discomforts with it, AND about key founders of Silicon Valley IS useful. No argument there at all!
Discussion and education are great and impactful.
Changing these school names now, though, is nonsensical, costly, wasteful....and one wonders if to be used as a topic and written in the child’s essay for college apps down the line. One wonders.
Tempest in a teapot.


55 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 5:09 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

Maybe we can forgive the Chinese community for being a little sensitive. They have a lot of experience lately with what it is like to be born with the wrong type of last name.

According to recent reports, a Chinese sounding name is a fast path to a rejection letter from the UC university system, Harvard or a job at Youtube. Every year about this time, the horror stories come in about Chinese students with near perfect academic resumes who can't get into their 1st, 2nd or even 3rd college choice due to explicit discrimination.

Further, despite being the majority ethnic group at both Terman and Gunn the school district has slow rolled offering Mandarin courses as a choice. As if Spanish is the only non-english language spoken at home.

If anyone dares to raise a complaint or suggest that students should be focusing on academic excellence instead of externally organized political protests, micro-aggression workshops and un-scientific gender propaganda they get immediately kicked off the parent network.

[Portion removed.]

After the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, Isoroku Yamamoto feared the awakening of the sleeping giant. Perhaps now the insidious attack of political correctness and identity politics will awaken another strong force.

- The sleeping dragon.


131 people like this
Posted by Tyler L. Sean
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 20, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Will the original Jordan parent who raised this school name issue spend his own money to wage this campaign? Probably not. He wanted something done and somebody else to pay for it.

Will the board members who are for renaming our schools spend their own money to conduct the new names search? Probably not. They are spending somebody else’s money on somebody else.

Both are the most irresponsible ways of spending money. Taxpayers money, that is!


16 people like this
Posted by Jordan Grad 74
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 20, 2018 at 6:19 pm

Who started all of this?


11 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 20, 2018 at 6:23 pm

I said it before and I'll say it again...

Chip Middle school (after microchip)

Code Middle School (after writing code)


13 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 20, 2018 at 6:34 pm

A student at Paly named Michael Wang wrote about this for the Campanile in 2012 and then a student at Jordan named Kobi Jonsson wrote a report on it in 2015 and here we are.

I prefer we limit the new possible names to people who attended either Jordan or Terman (which eliminates all of the committee's recommendations, although Yamamoto did attend Paly -- before Jordan had opened, which was 1939).

I prefer Karen Grove and Dan Creek to Redwood Grove and Adobe Creek (Gunn students, classmates of mine; I prefer any of my Gunn classmates chosen at random to a founder of a billion-dollar company who attended Lowell, or to a tree.)


24 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Family
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 20, 2018 at 6:51 pm

I fully concur with @Jerry Underdal and what seems to be lost in this thread is the original article that the Chinese families (largely at Gunn HS) have been mobilizing to stop a name when yes, they have the option to run for office, sit on committees and yet they dont. They fully operate covertly and behind the scenes to create as much disruption and chaos as possible, completely disregarding the majority community in the interest of their own self interest.


97 people like this
Posted by incumbents out
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 20, 2018 at 8:31 pm

In an email to a parent on Sunday, board member Melissa Baten Caswell wrote that using a "guilt by association" argument in opposition to Fred Yamamoto "is exactly the action that was used to remove Fred Yamamoto and his family from their home in Palo Alto and place them in a prison camp in Wyoming."

And yet, Caswell and the rest of the board refused to consider "Fred Terman" because of who his father was. Talk about "guilt by association".

It's amazing how this board is so blatantly hypocritical. [Portion removed.]


73 people like this
Posted by What Are We Doing?
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:22 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


69 people like this
Posted by A Chinese Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 20, 2018 at 9:54 pm

I think @Jerry Underdal has a valid point even though I don’t agree with you completely. Chinese community is seeking for leadership and we will find someone who is willing and capable of taking the responsibility of serving on the school board. That day will come, hopefully in the near future. Meanwhile, let’s don’t eliminate the efforts that many Chinese patents are taking to make our community a better place for living, working, education and much more. I know many Chinese parents (myself included) serve on school PTA board, pie , project cornerstone and beyond. The Chinese New Year Fair at Mitchel Park Library happened two weeks ago were organized by Chinese parents and carried out by hundreds of Chinese volunteers including young Chinese American children. Many citizens from Palo Alto and neighbor towns enjoyed the event. That’s something great about this community, people have the privilege to enjoy and appreciate different culture, the diversity. It could also be probmatic when people don’t understand and communicate well with each other, like the dramas we have seen in our school district. Bottom line is, let’s be respectful and considerate, to solve the problems one by one. Let’s take this opportunity to bring our community together for our kids’ sake. Let Palo Alto Unified School District live up to its standard and no more division in our community please!


46 people like this
Posted by Common sense and empathy
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:03 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:29 pm

We may not have any Asian board members at present, but we have had at least two in the past decade or so.

I hope that nobody is suggesting that we have to have demographic quotas on our school board.


Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park

on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:33 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.


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19 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:44 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

Just move on to consider the other candidates. Fred Yamamoto’s story was inspirational for the folks who were here before demographics changed in a major fashion. It does not resonate positively with a large percentage of current school families through no fault of Fred Yamamoto or of the Recommending Names Committee. Reason enough to consider other candidates. Having an important American story brought out of obscurity, one that challenges the Eugenicists’ immigration restrictionist assumptions about who was of value to our society was worth doing even if naming a school for him, given today’s school population, might not be the best choice.


So, who will it be? Ellen Fletcher, Bill Hewlett, Edith Johnson, Frank Greene or Anna Zschokke? Or maybe the fallback Adobe Creek and Redwood Grove? Only one week to go before decision time.


21 people like this
Posted by Michael O.
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:54 pm

I find it hard to believe that parents of "Chinese descent" do not want someone named Fred Yamamoto to have a school named after him because of someone else named Yamamoto. Should we not name a school after someone who was born in the US, was in an interment camp but still enlisted in the US military, and died fighting against the other Yamamoto in WWII? My vote goes to Fred Yamamoto Middle School. It's not possible that naming it after Fred would offend anyone.


5 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 10:57 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Sanctimonious City

“It started with a family virtue signalling so they could get source material for their child's college essay and preferential admission to an elite liberal university.”

That’s quite an assertion to start with. Sort of weakens the rest of your argument if you can’t source it someplace outside your own imagination.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:18 pm

Posted by Sanctimonious City, a resident of Barron Park

>> It started with a family virtue signalling

And you are following up by virtue signalling -- by using the phrase "virtue signalling". This adds no credibility to your argument.

>> so they could get source material for their child's college essay and preferential admission to an elite liberal university.

Is "elite" good or bad? Do you mean (politically) liberal university or liberal arts university? Is it good or bad to go to "an elite liberal university"?

>> Thus, instead of supporting the wishes of their residents the school board has heroically chosen to institute a sham process that everybody knows is democratically illigetimate and has no credibility.

Schools get renamed. "illigetimate"? It is the school board's job to name schools.

"They would rather pursue reverse racist agendas to topple white patriarchies and denegrate a Chinese culture that prefers quiet hard work to boisterous retribution."

I'm sorry. Who is deprecating Chinese culture? I have not seen that anywhere until now.

>> So please save us the disengenous lecture on participation, when the school board uses current racism to attack historical wrongs we all know it will just be an exersize of Stalin taking down and replacing the pictures of Lennin in the politburo.

Just curious-- why are you so offended by renaming a school named after Lewis Terman? In any case, I'm not following your Lenin/Stalin analogy.


59 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 20, 2018 at 11:41 pm

If the Yamamoto name (not the person but the name) offends 40% or more of the families in our district, then let's NOT use that name. Find another name.

Imagine someone suggested naming one of our schools after Fred Hitler, a beloved philanthropist but no relation whatsoever to Adolf Hitler. We would NEVER go for that in a million years.

I wished we didn't have to rename the schools in the first place, or simply change Terman to honor the son, not the father. But given where we are, the Board needs to wake up and DO NOT vote for the offensive name.

And yes, with regard to an all-white School Board serving a community that is 40%+ Asian, that needs to be remedied in the next election. Please step up!


33 people like this
Posted by Rambling man
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 12:40 am

I think this whole topic on the Yamamoto naming is latent WW2 era prejudice against the Japanese. I would imagine if the school was named person with a common Japanese surname like "Tanaka, Watanabe or Ito" they could find someone with a in the Imperial Military that
did something unspeakable wrong. Even though it's been 70+ years since the end of the war, the scars run deep. Being Japanese American, I've experienced this latent resentment from Chinese, Korean and Filipino folks over the years.
The Imperial Japanese Military did some horrible things during war years. It's a hard thing to forget and forgive. And Japanese faces or names can be a trigger for these awful memories. Even though I'm 3rd generation
Japanese American I can understand. Yes, our families were placed in American internment camps during WWII and experienced a wide range of prejudices and injustices. However the targets of the Imperial Military
were subject to much more horrible acts during the war,including murder, torture and rape.

Schools should be a nurturing place with positive messages. If the school renaming opens up old wounds and resentment, I fully support not naming a school after a seemingly divisive issue. With that said, I hope that parents
should let go of past prejudices and move forward. Do they take this one step further. Japanese companies are some of the most successful in the world, many with roots that served or supported the Imperial Army. Companies such as
Toyota, Nissan, Sony, Canon, Hitachi, NEC, and Nikon. Do you boycott their products because of what happened decades ago. Is this what you will teach your kids? I hate to use the "R" word.
But this kind of thinking is the very definition of racist. Or do we want to move forward to a world where your race/ancestry doesn't matter. I think these parent are doing a big disservice to their kids by programming racist
messages instead of focusing on the positive messages that these school renaming represent. I see no difference in this sort of rhetoric than what's spewed out from president Trump.


33 people like this
Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 21, 2018 at 6:48 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


20 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2018 at 7:58 am

Posted by Old Timer, a resident of Professorville

>> Well we certainly shouldn't choose any Chinese names, because that will offend Tibetans and Vietnamese.

How about the name "Lee"? Could be Chinese. Or Korean. Or English. Or Irish. Or, ... ? Possibly the most common name in the world. The possibilities to offend are endless.

Web Link


25 people like this
Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 21, 2018 at 8:12 am

@Anon

Tree names may be “problematic” as well. So many people have hay fever.


19 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 8:14 am

As a history teacher I'm grabbing the popcorn and settling in....tee heee heee. Good luck guys!


83 people like this
Posted by Tyler L. Sean
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 21, 2018 at 8:54 am

PAUSD board members: Keep your eye on the ball please!!

Voters elected you because

1) you promised to create robustly stimulating schools where the students, the next generation of Palo Altans, can rise and thrive.

2) you are expected to motivate the teachers to educate, to be role models, and hold them accountable when they don’t.

3) you are expected to be a good fiduciary of the trust by the school district, parents, students and community members.

4), 5), 6) etc.

Voters certainly did not elect you to spend so much time and money on school names. Look at the distraction this issue has created in our community.

Pick a geographic name for each school and move on.

Keep your eye on the ball please!!


42 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2018 at 9:06 am

As far as names are concerned, yes we do associate names with the most famous person who carried that name, regardless.

As an example, how many people in Palo Alto think Churchill (where our PAUSD district office is situated) is named for the Prime Minister rather than the poet? It is surrounded by streets named after other poets, but still people think of Winston as opposed to Charles.


44 people like this
Posted by Baron Park dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 9:08 am

Agree with Tyler Bean on "keeping your eyes on the ball". Do not pick a name that offends 40%+ of the families and causes community divisiveness. If the School Board feels they MUST change the name of Jordan and Terman, then either pick a non-person name or else pick one of the other choices.

Please do the sensible thing, not the flame-throwing thing. And then go back to debating _educational_ topics that affect our kids.


26 people like this
Posted by Supply & Demand
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:16 am

Wasting Money and time for secret political agenda!

No name is not involving in some negative unless it is new!

Need to focus on school financial and student safety!


16 people like this
Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:47 am

@Tyler L. Sean:

"Pick a geographic name..." Heaven forfend!!! California geographic names are the result of Spanish colonialism and enslavement of the indigenous population! Can't get more patriarchal than a 15th century Catholic priest.


78 people like this
Posted by Midtown Dad
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:52 am

I must admit that I am usually self-absorbed in my own daily routines and lazy to take interests in public affairs. Until two days ago, when a friend told me what’s transpiring in our two middle schools’ name changes, I felt I was obliged to share my thoughts. Before I delve into it, I must declare my impartiality and I hold no grudges against any individual or nationality.

Foremost, I object the legitimacy of renaming our middle schools as a justification for the modern day political correctness. To argue that the current names bear a magnified negative influence on our children is justification overrun. Education is to teach our children to evaluate in properly weighted fairness and accept past in kindness. The renaming is doing the opposite. We are teaching them how to revoke at will historical figures based on today’s merits or personal judgement. If such a reasoning can prevail, then perhaps, hundreds or maybe thousands of schools across the United States shall start looking into name changes. What’s the next step? Are we going to start to scrutinize all names of buildings, streets and parks which titles were to commemorate persons from our nation’s past? School budget can be much wisely utilized than being spent on such clauses. Education shall serve a higher purpose, not to concoct a sour topic for resurrection.

Secondly, If the Renaming Committee shall choose to move forward, I suggest using names of places, not those of people. No one is to say twenty or thirty years from now, our future residents may find such minuscule faults with historical figures that they shall compel for another change. Names of places can be far less controversial for the time to come.

Thirdly, if just so unfortunately that names of historical figures are preferred in the general consensus, I shall strongly urge that the name “ Fred Yamamoto” to be ruled out. It bears the identical last name as the Japanese Naval master-mind and Commander-in-Chief behind our Pearl Harbor attack, which subsequently got United State into World War II and led to the drop of two atomic bombs. “ Yamamoto Middle School ”- Who can tell if we mean “Fred” or “Isoroku”. We will end up with an immense task trying to educate the new incoming sixth graders every year to teach them the difference between “ Fred Yamamoto” and “ Isoroku Yamamoto”. We will raise doubt among people across California and our nation who may inquire as to why we chose “Yamamoto” for our school name in Palo Alto. The severe burden for clarification will be ours to bear for many years to come.

Let me just use a fictitious analogy. Let’s say “ Steve Hitler” was a graduate of Paly and a great Palo Altan who had made contribution to civil services in the 1920s. To commemorate him, shall we name one of our school to “ Steve Hitler Middle School” or “ Hitler Middle School”?? I don’t presume anyone in his/her right mind would dare to suggest it, even though this Hitler was not Adolf himself. Using “ Yamamoto” for our school name will have the same adverse effect beyond measure. Pearl Harbor is a piece of American History.

Lastly, City of Palo Alto comprises of a large population of Asian families from many countries: China, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and of course Japan and so on… To single out one Japanese name for one of our only three middle schools will not bode well for the Asian communities at large. This may be construed as politics at work, a favoritism, and on the flip side, another form of discrimination in the non-Japanese community. Such a strife can be avoided by not using the name.

During World War II, Japanese Military Empire invaded China, Korea, most of the south eastern Asian countries and Pearl Harbor. War crimes had been forgiven, but an official apology has never come. This persistent denial in the last 73 years has created unpleasant friction for the Chinese and Korean people against Japan even to this day. Palo Alto has a very large Chinese and Korean population. Please be considerate for the sentiment of this group of non-revolting residents. The name” Yamamoto Middle School” can only stir an under current hatred in an otherwise peaceful community. And to follow is an exodus by Asian families out of the neighborhoods where the Yamamoto Middle School is located. Thus, the real estate will be likely to collapse and two other middle schools become overloaded.

To summarize. School name changes on the pursuer’s merits is a contradiction to rightful education to our children. And it wastes our tax payers money. If the Committee has already set its mind on the course, then names of places shall be chosen over that of people to spare persecution by future residents. And further, if names of people are preferred by this body, “Yamamoto” shall be ruled out to alleviate the perpetual burden upon our public agencies for making a distinction from the Japanese warlord and to maintain a peaceful status among the Palo Alto Asian community.


23 people like this
Posted by Tyler L. Sean
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:57 am

@ Old Timer. foothill middle school. midtown middle school, to name a couple.

The point is moving on and away from this distraction.


13 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 11:11 am

I have heard a lot of comments about NOT naming our schools for people.
Has anyone done any kind of polling to indicate what name preference
people prefer as far as people names or non-people names?

I must prefer something that is not named after a person. Not everything
should be a political contest. In the same way I disike to see stadiums
named after corporations, I dislike public things to be named after people.

Let's please not do this.


17 people like this
Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 21, 2018 at 11:39 am

@Tyler:

Why? Palo Alto used to be full of family oriented, neighborly, well-meaning nice people. So boring. It’s a lot more exciting since the oppression olympics came to town.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2018 at 11:56 am

There is an excellent letter to the editosby Vic Befera in today’s (Wed.) P A Daily Post; I recommend reading it. I believe this is a retired resident of Palo Alto and he offers the correct perspective on this issue. Thank you, Mr. Befera.


9 people like this
Posted by Hometown Girl
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2018 at 12:19 pm

While I continue to maintain that this whole thing is just stupid and I feel so much sorrow that our city history is being destroyed brick-by-brick, I still feel that Florence J. Turner, 45yr teacher and mentor to generations of Palo Alto kids (and Boy's P.E. teacher at Jordan during WWII) would be an inspired and non-controvertial choice... Unless someone decides to find some other historic person named Florence Turner with whom to compare, contrast and disparage.


24 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 21, 2018 at 1:17 pm

What a yuuuge waste of money. I least I still have my evil “Jordan “ Yearbooks. I’m almost afraid to open them as I might become involved in evil eugenics.

Seriously folks if so many are against this why is the school district pushing forward.?

And you people know eugenics as a science is still around right? Often laed as “gene therapy” , test tube babies” or invetro fertilization. Only difference between then and now is Consent.

Web Link


37 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto home owner
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 21, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Please do not waste our tax players' hard-earned money on this school rename.

Use geographical names if you need to rename.


15 people like this
Posted by Jon Parsons
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Jon Parsons is a registered user.

A problem with politically motivated renaming is that we must rename now in light of the anticipated future arc of a collective carping consciousness. At one time Mr. Yamamoto's enlistment showed a valor and patriotism that was perceived to have value. Today perhaps his death has shrived all sins. But tomorrow he may be seen as simply another example of old-school male toxicity known only for rushing to grab a gun and kill people. And then, of course, a more correct renaming would be required. I am thinking trees in their marvelous variety.


40 people like this
Posted by Harry
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 21, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Frankly, who is the one stirring up the community and promoting racial divide here? We call our schools like Hoover, Jordan, Terman, etc., except JLS. Before this mess, I for one did not even know David Starr Jordan or Lewis Terman. Regardless what they did, this is part of history that renaming a school cannot erase. If you google up Yamamoto, Isoroku Yamamoto is the No. 1 hit. What do you, the board, want our kids to learn here?

This vote on 27th must stop or postpone until further review. These are the reasons:

1. The renaming committee has no asian representation, despite the fact one third of the students in the schools are Asian.
2. Findings by the committee are flawed. There is no definitive evidence but assumptions/guesses. For example, the report is accusing Jordan as the leader of Eugenics movement and blamed California then government for enacting laws of forced sterilization. There is no evidence to tie Jordan to the legislation or the assembly was even influenced by jordan's theory. Even more ridiculous for Fred Terman, whom the committee found not evidence of eugenics like his father. But his is guilty because he had the father of Lewis Terman and he hired Shockly. Typical guilty by association. By the same token, Hoover must be renamed because Hoover made many anti-african American remarks while in the white house. Why not renaming Hoover? Leland Stanford could not even hide his resentment towards Chinese immigrants and why not JLS? Nixon? Where does this end?
3. Exceeding budget amid the current deficit. It is out tax dollars shall I remind you.

One board member publicly said we cannot totally dissociate Fred Terman with his father. This is non-sensical. By the same token, can we dissociate Jane Stanford with Leland Stanford?


29 people like this
Posted by Resident of College Terrace
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2018 at 2:18 pm

I can understand why some people may be upset with the associations of the Yamamoto surname. But if Yamamoto is not acceptable, why not name the school after the Peninsula resident who was most prominent in promoting Japanese culture as well as mutual understanding between Japan and the United States at a time when anti-Japanese sentiment was rampant in California? The same man was the most prominent opponent of the anti-Japanese “Alien Land Law” of 1913 and hired the first Japanese professor at Stanford as well as actively encouraged Japanese students to attend Stanford and Stanford students to learn about Japanese culture.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration: David Starr Jordan.


13 people like this
Posted by cvvhrn
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2018 at 2:28 pm

cvvhrn is a registered user.

Gunn Parent pretty much summed up what I was going to say.

If we are going to apply the last name standard as in the case of a war hero who found AND died for this country, then it should apply to EVERY NAME.

Thus Jordan should be renamed Middle School#2

Now that that's done cue the outrage over the use of a prime number or other such nonsense.

Given all of the other issues in our schools this is the shallow alto equivelent of fiddling while Rome burns


10 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

It’s important that people understand where the renaming process stands so they won’t belabor options that are not available.

1. Jordan MS and Terman MS are already gone, by board action a year ago.
2. The board established a committee to solicit suggestions from the community and winnow them down to a point that the board could reasonably pick two in time for the schools to reset next fall
3. The committee’s work is done. No use calling for the committee to do anything further. Thanks are due for their service, whether you are happy with all eight of the choices or not. If you’ve looked at the report there are probably two that you like better than the other six.
4. Lobby board members in support of your favorites.
5. Wait for the board to make its decisions next Tuesday.
6. Support the newly named schools as PAUSD moves forward to provide a quality education for all.


6 people like this
Posted by SomeOtherChoices
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 21, 2018 at 2:46 pm

What about characters from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?
Bilbo? (oh, maybe not; he stole Golum's Ring)
Frodo? (maybe a better choice; but are people offended by big feet?)
What about Galadriel? she was pretty 'good', wasn't she?
And certainly Arwen.
What about Legolas? and Gimli? (they killed people, but they only killed Orcs, and they are 'bad', right?)

I rather like "Gimli Middle School" myself.

(really - lets use numbers - P.S. #1, #2, etc; Numbers can 'travel' with schools whenever their location changes. or directions: North Middle School, Central High School, etc.)


7 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2018 at 2:50 pm

@Hometown girl

Everyone Knows the name Florence as the maid in the TV show The Jeffersons. So no kid wants to go to the "Maid School"


17 people like this
Posted by SomeOtherChoices
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 21, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Jerry,
How many people who object to a name is enough to eliminate it from consideration?
Is it the same number as signed the original complaint about Jordan?
Is that the touchstone for future complaints? And if so, shouldn't the Board react in the same manner?

I'd be interested to see how quickly such (valid) petitions against the current proposals could be produced with similar numbers of signatures.
What then?

Shouldn't we hash this out now, before one is chosen which immediately gets shot down by the public?


49 people like this
Posted by PA Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2018 at 3:00 pm

This is insane.
If 30 percent of Palo Altans are Chinese and they hear the name Yamamoto the way I hear the name Hitler-
And Palo Altans have decided that last names count- an innocent Terman's name cannot be used because his father is retroactively guilty of the sin of eugenics-
Then by golly, move on and choose another name from the list.
Why are we even having this conversation?

Oh, yes, I know why- because from now on instead of discussing real issues and making real progress in life we will forever fight culture wars of one sort or another. It used to be the right versus the left and now it's tranches of the left fighting other tranches of the left.


19 people like this
Posted by ConsiderThis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Another thing to consider about selecting Yamamoto.

How long to you think it will be before the school/students/mascot are referred to as the "Yamamoto Bombers" or "The Kamikazes"

It'll happen.


27 people like this
Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 21, 2018 at 3:14 pm

ConsiderThis wrote: "How long to you think it will be before the school/students/mascot are referred to as the 'Yamamoto Bombers' or 'The Kamikazes'"

No worries. After this circus, the whole world will know them as the 'Palo Alto Snowflakes.'


103 people like this
Posted by PALY mom
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 21, 2018 at 3:31 pm

It is time for the PAUSD board members to be courageous and stop the school renaming process!
Enough time and energy has been consumed on this matter, we should all learn from it and respect history as it is.
Move on to spend time and energy on helping our teachers and students at PAUSD.


7 people like this
Posted by Grannie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 3:42 pm

If the decision is to be made next Tuesday by the PAUSD Board, who is the Best person to email on the board now?
I wrote to one and had no response to use geograghaphical names.
Thank you.


23 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2018 at 4:06 pm

To Grannie and anyone who wants to have their voice heard.

The best contact address for all board members is board@pausd.org This will send the same email to each individual member.

I suggest we swamp their email boxes with our emails.

board@pausd.org


74 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 4:40 pm

YP is a registered user.

What irks me most is that the renaming committee who was charged with getting public input never bothered to ask IF the schools should be renamed rather they sent out a survey in 2017 asking HOW they might be renamed. From the get go this has followed an inexorable path of poliical correctness resulting in a waste of Board time, reckless use of school funds and has created unnecessary public diviseness. Gee what a surprise


60 people like this
Posted by PAUSD Episode 298
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 21, 2018 at 4:43 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


34 people like this
Posted by Scavenger
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 21, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Scavenger is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment.]


16 people like this
Posted by AAHistory
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2018 at 5:05 pm

Perhaps a neutral place, plant, or animal name could work better: Bayside, Cedarwood, Great Blue Heron. The saddest thing about this issue, though, seems to be a lack of knowledge of Asian-American history.

If schools are about education, the ignorance of Japanese-American history in this case seems quite sad. The nisei generation of Japanese AMERICANS were first held suspect and barred from being in the U.S. military following Pearl Harbor. The Japanese-American populations of the time were essentially split between Hawaii, the location of the Pearl Harbor, and the West Coast states.

When Pearl Harbor was bombed, there were many Japanese Americans on Oahu and even working for the U.S. military at Pearl Harbor. They were as stunned and saddened by the bombing of Pearl Harbor as anyone. The second generation nisei, after all, viewed themselves as fundamentally American--just as many current American-born kids here in Palo Alto with immigrant Asian parents view themselves as American first and foremost.

Despite the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, thousands of Japanese-American men volunteered for the U.S. military once they were allowed. They were sent to Europe and to Asia, where many of them died during some of the bloodiest battles of WWII. They were in Europe to help free Jewish concentration camp survivors. They worked in Asia as interpreters and decoders who helped foil the Japanese military's plans. The efforts of men like Fred Yamamoto saved lives in European and Asian countries.

After the war, the nisei became involved in American politics and helped promote the causes of Asian American and other minority groups. It seems fair to say that their politics were not ethno-centric. Michelle Obama has been quoted as saying that her husband, born in Hawaii, was inspired to enter politics after watching his state's Japanese-American senator on TV during the Watergate hearings: Web Link

Yes, it would probably satisfy many people in this town to pick a name that is not a last name, and that might be the best solution. But it seems misguided to object to the last name of a man who is representative of the nisei who transformed a dark episode of (Asian-) American history into something brighter for Americans of diverse backgrounds.


31 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 5:08 pm

YP is a registered user.

In My post above I incorrectly stated the date of the survey that was sent. It was August 2016. Many of you would have received it. I complained at the time to a school board member and an “advisor” to the renaming committee.
How could a survey to get public feedback not include the obvious question, that is did we feel it was a good use of time and money or could there be other ways to address this issue . My comments were met with shrugs. In my mind the renaming committee failed in one of its core missions , that is he soliciting of public feedback. So here we sit today 18 months later.........


36 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2018 at 5:10 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I doubt this issue can get any messier.

Message to School Board: bring this to a close and avoid further controversy by taking the safest route and passing on the opportunity to honor a person. There may be something less than admirable in each "finalist's" past - probably not eugenics, but maybe SPANKING. That was once common, too. Mercifully, we evolve.

Sort of.


67 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2018 at 6:00 pm

This thread is hilarious.

What a stupid idea to rename the schools.

Your government at work.


16 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@AA history

“If schools are about education, the ignorance of Japanese-American history in this case seems quite sad.”

I agree completely. An Ethnic Studies course is a tool that many secondary schools use to give students an opportunity to address the experiences of various groups in American society. It can be tailored to local situations. This was a popular elective at Mission
San Jose HS in Fremont when I taught there. Palo Alto should explore it as a course offering at Paly and Gunn.


60 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2018 at 7:19 pm

eileen is a registered user.

Can we please stop this nonsense!! it's a ridiculous idea to rename these two schools, OK? The school district will have a lot of trouble getting citizens to fork over money for the schools if this keeps up! STOP NOW!!


54 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 7:46 pm

YP is a registered user.

Eileen ,
Couldn’t agree with you more . I stopped my donations to PIE a couple years ago because of this nonsense . If the board can waste time and money on these issues I guess they don’t need mine .
In the words of Don Mclean

“Bye bye Palo Alto PIe”


7 people like this
Posted by Terminal Jordan Almonds
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2018 at 8:59 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


61 people like this
Posted by New PAUSD Survey Needed
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2018 at 9:22 pm

New PAUSD Survey Needed is a registered user.

@ YP: I completely agree!

When I received the PAUSD online survey about school renaming (you said it was August 2016), I was incensed that instead of asking whether my family was in favor of the renaming, the survey proceeded to ask what types of new names I would prefer! Answer: NONE!!! The survey skipped the MOST important question and was written as though parents were in favor of renaming. There was no way on the survey to say that I was NOT in favor of the renaming and did not support such a stupid waste of money, time, resources! What a FARCE of a survey!!! So a small vocal minority shoved this campaign through, when clearly the VAST majority of PAUSD parents is NOT in favor of it. What can we do to stop this ridiculousness? Demand a new survey to find out what percentage of PAUSD parents actually support and what percentage do not? The committee didn't ask the question about how many parents actually support the survey because they know it is a very small minority and intended to push their agenda through anyway. Disgusting.


85 people like this
Posted by Tyler L. Sean
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 21, 2018 at 9:36 pm

At this point, the PAUSD board should have realized that, as far as school renaming goes, they are riding a tiger.

One of the safest and graceful ways to dismount is to name the schools after geographic names.

AND then propose other ways to honor the 6 candidates chosen, such as building a William Hewlett statue, designating a Fred Yamamoto library or a Anna Zschokke auditorium, etc. etc. at the schools.

And most importantly, don't ever get into messes like this again!


40 people like this
Posted by Terman district person
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 9:44 pm

1) it is waste of money, too much distraction for no reason;

2) A good portion of the community already said they are against certain name, then just forget about that particular name. Easy and simple. Why bother fighting? Todd Collins is willing to tell us the emperor has no clothes, thank you!


46 people like this
Posted by Learntosayimadeamistake
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2018 at 9:52 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


24 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:09 pm

If the board is hell bent on naming the schools after a person I found some safe names.

Jane Doe middle

John Doe middle


32 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:13 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

THE FIX WAS IN

According to the VP of our school board (Jennifer DiBrienza) this situation is part of a larger imperative to "tear down the structural biases that are embedded in our district."

If it was just a matter of aligning values and removing offense to a certain group of people they could have reaffirmed the namesake was Frederick and not Lewis Terman.

If they wanted to make the naming conventions neutral to all groups, then they could simply change to geographical naming conventions.

But in her own words, there is a higher purpose involved here.

"If, going forward, we insist on naming our schools for geographic locations only, then we are forever left with a collection of secondary schools named almost exclusively after white men.

If we are serious about dismantling structures that are holding some of our students back, that cannot be an option for this board."

You can read the entire white man-hating manifesto on her Facebook page at Web Link

So just like a recent Democratic primary and notorious email investigation, the fix was in and always has been.


64 people like this
Posted by A soon-to-be Terman Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:33 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


53 people like this
Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:45 pm

[Poster removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


59 people like this
Posted by Political Correctness to the extreme
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:55 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


8 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 21, 2018 at 11:08 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

How would this look in digital news feeds?

"Palo Alto school figures worked to nationalize forced sterilization policy, community says "never mind," overturns renaming"

All the posts urging the district to reinstate the old names invite this scenario as the California legislature takes up legislation to provide compensation to surviving victims of forced sterilization. The bill, SB-1190 Eugenics Sterilization Compensation Program, was introduced in February. It's to PAUSD's benefit that it has already rescinded the old names and just awaits next week's board meeting for the new ones. It shouldn't be scathed by the debate over SB-1190, but certainly will get mentioned.

Almost none of the posts in this thread acknowledges that there were problems with Jordan and Lewis Terman's legacy. Small wonder that after decades without a reminder of these men's enthusiasm for (negative) eugenics the community was dismayed to have it brought out for a fresh look, seen through new eyes. Now that we know, what should we do with that knowledge, act like we haven't seen it, deny its significance, or take measures to distance our schools from what Jordan, Terman (and Cubberley) promoted in their day. PAUSD properly chose the last option a year ago. With new names chosen next week, Palo Alto can turn the page and move on unencumbered.


56 people like this
Posted by HQ
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 22, 2018 at 12:17 am

HQ is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


65 people like this
Posted by A new board?
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 22, 2018 at 1:04 am

A new board? is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


27 people like this
Posted by casey
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 1:26 am

casey is a registered user.

I can't help but think this is Palo Alto's version of the Confederate statute controversy. Sure, the Board should have higher priorities, but at the same time, this is not an issue that should be ignored. If the values of Terman and Jordan (i.e., eugenics) are no longer consonant with our modern values, then make the change.

There's also some assumptions that people are making regarding the Chinese community. We are not a monolithic community. Some of us can tell the difference between Fred Yamamoto and Isoroku Yamamoto. I am deeply pained that 76 years later, we are repeating the same mistakes that led to the detention of the Yamamoto family at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. There should be no room for collective guilt or suspicion in our American society. We should consider naming a school after Fred Yamamoto based on his individual merits, and not tarnish his legacy by associating him with the evils perpetrated by the Empire of Japan throughout the Pacific during the Second World War.

I would be proud if my child attended Yamamoto Middle School. If someone asked about the origins of the name, I would gladly educate them that the school is named after a local Palo Altan who was uprooted from California and detained in Wyoming pursuant to Executive Order 9066 solely because he was a Japanese American. Despite the fact that the nation mistreated his family, his sense of patriotism did not diminish. He volunteered to join the army and served with the 442nd. We remember and honor him because he died in service to his country.


12 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 22, 2018 at 3:46 am

It is almost ludicrous to say that our history is being destroyed. What an over-reaction. I went to both these schools and I never learned any history from the names of the schools ... that is laughable. By that logic we better name something about Hitler or we will forget about WWII.

Why do you think corporations want to name stadiums? Because it presents the name in a way such as to make it associated with something normal, familiar and pleasant ... it is marketing. Reverse that and it would be more likely that these people are being lionized by having normal public daily things named after them. It just should not be done.

You do not teach or remember history or hnistoric figures by naming things after them. Some people just hate change and hate to change the way they look at things, in other words they want the same errors and misconceptions they grew up with to be visited on everyone else far into the future.

For goodness sake, it's just a school name. 3 years and you are gone, usually longing to forget that experiences as soon as possible! ;-)

We should actually be the progressive city we pretend and forge a new standard of naming things neutrally and keeping history and politics out of it.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sea Seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 22, 2018 at 4:37 am

Sea Seelam Reddy is a registered user.

Interesting discussion.

We have many accomplished in the community. Pick one and see how it is going to work.
living:
Greg Schmidt
Pat Burke
Gail Price
Nancy Shepard
Lauren Powell
John Hennessey
Condi Rice
William Perry
George Schultz
Joe Simitian

and more. Choose One!

Respectfully


26 people like this
Posted by Jordan 1970
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2018 at 5:42 am

This is not even guilt by association — it's worse. It's guilt by coincidence.

There was no connection between Palo Altan Fred and the Japanese admiral — NONE!

It is by mere coincidence that they share the same surname, even flimsier grounds to deprive Fred Yamamoto of his place in history.

Fred Terman is being denied not only because his father was part of the eugenics movement but also because he recruited William Shockley to the Stanford Engineering faculty. Like it or not, Shockley was a brilliant electronics engineer who co-invented the transistor. In the final analysis, Fred Terman suffers from a double dose of guilt by association, once for his father and a second time for Shockley.

Yeah Palo Alto, teach your kids that guilt by association is a good thing.

I feel sorry for the family of Fred Yamamoto, a true war hero who died for his country in combat and a victim of modern-day mob hysteria.


31 people like this
Posted by Yuri
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2018 at 6:47 am

At the risk of being labeled intolerant or racist by members of an "inclusive" community, let me state why I think the new name is a bad choice. Yes, guilt by association is not a good thing, and Fred Yamamoto is a great American, but the name will be associated with Isoroku whether the community likes it or not. There are Goerings that reside in Palo Alto whom I am sure are fine people. There could be some really wonderful Rommels, Stalins, Jong Uns, Bedford Forrests, or even Trumps in the town as well whose parents or grandparents did wonderful things for the community, but there is no way on earth any public school in Palo Alto would bear those names. It's unfortunate, but that's the reality of the matter. It is probably best to leave names off the list or the controversy will only grow more intense.

PS: Nixon Elementary was named before Richard resigned in disgrace.


16 people like this
Posted by Jordan 1970
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2018 at 7:02 am

How many Palo Altans could identify Isoroku Yamamoto before his name was published here? Not many, I suspect; I certainly couldn't.


4 people like this
Posted by Yuri
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2018 at 7:44 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


27 people like this
Posted by Monica Yeung Arima
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 22, 2018 at 7:54 am

I favor the renaming of the school after Fred Yamamoto. Story of Internment: Fred Yamamoto from Paly’s Verde. Web Link. His story resembling many to my husband’s dad.

My son is a Paly 2013, a 4th generation Japanese American. He went to school from K-12 at PAUSD. My husband was a Stanford grad of 1972, my brother-in-law in 1970 and my late mother-in-law got her Phd from Stanford at the age of 65. Both of my in-law rested at Fort Ord Veterans Cemetery now. James died young at the age of 62 and my mother-in-law lived till she was 93.

Dad was in the US Army before WWII. He was never drafted into the Japanese internment camp but his parents and his brother did. For the same reason, the family was parted different ways.

For selfish reasons, I like people to remember this piece of history, so history does not repeat itself. Fred Yamamoto is a symbolic symbol in remembering this piece of history. Many of these detailed history was not included in the children’s history text book. May be in the supplementary text books. Internment of Japanese Americans Web Link.

Same with the history or story behind the Chinese Exclusion Acts. Web Link That need to change.

Thank you for the committee to recognize Fred Yamamoto as a young hero of Paly and share with us his short life of 26. I salute to your effort at your selection.

There are many in the community that will come for a discussion perhaps to oppose such recommendation. Please come to voice your opinion or write to your board at board@pausd.org. Don’t punish Fred Yamamoto because of his last name resemblance of others. Don’t punish Fred Yamamoto because he is Japanese American. I see this as an opportunity to lay down Asian American history on the ground.

Final decision will be made at the next PAUSD board meeting on March 27 6:30pm-10pm. Whatever the result is, I respect the committee’s effort and accept the Board’s decision respectfully. After discussion, please move on with your executive decisions and don’t let this stop you from attending to more important things in your agenda.


43 people like this
Posted by Explanations on the culture and hitorical differences
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2018 at 8:34 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


58 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2018 at 8:41 am

This thread shows exactly why naming a school or anything over any person is not a good idea. Not only is the individual possibly going to include the possibility of having bad attributes in future, but as in the case of Nixon, there is the strong possibility of another individual with the same name maligning the name.

Keep away from naming anything after people.


107 people like this
Posted by Tyler L. Sean
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 22, 2018 at 8:57 am

Renaming our schools might be a fashionable and politically correct thing for the PAUSD board to take on in 2016 when this whole thing started.

But Palo Alto students, their parents and community members didn’t elect the board to be a politically correct fashion icon.

If the board puts their ideals before our schools and our students’ well-being, they deserve an F in the grade we Palo Altans give them.

PAUSD board members: please end this saga by choosing geographic names and lead our community to move on.


44 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 22, 2018 at 9:10 am

Strongly agree with a previous Palo Altan from Baron Park
-----
After speaking with some parents and reading some history, I respect the concerns of the Asian community. If a philanthropist named Fred Trump or Fred Hitler was part of the finalists, would I (someone with a European Jewish background) feel comfortable with the argument, "it's just a sir name?"

No, I would not like to have my child wear a school sweatshirt with printed with the name "Hitler Middle."


40 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 22, 2018 at 9:34 am

Nobody is mentioning this aspect here. But I predict that PIE donation will suffer a major dip if Terman or Jordan is named "Yamamoto middle school".


11 people like this
Posted by savage
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 22, 2018 at 9:39 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


39 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 9:57 am

Why does the person have to be a Palo Altan? Tons of schools are named after MLK, Washington, Kennedy, etc. How about "Harriet Tubman", the black lady that was supposed to be on the $20 bill until Trump nixed the plan? I'm sure Obama government has done enough vetting of her history so saves a lot of PAUSD time to investigate.

General Yamamoto is too well known. Anyone who watched Midway or Pearl Harbor movies will remember him. Every December he shows up in TV history channel programs. The number of people who know General Yamamoto is probably one thousand times more than those who know Lewis Terman or David Jordan, and ten thousand times more than those who know Fred Yamamoto.



2 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2018 at 10:13 am

Moon Middle School

Sun Middle School


34 people like this
Posted by Grace
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2018 at 10:18 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


83 people like this
Posted by Disappointed and board
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 10:56 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]



19 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto resident
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 11:03 am

Fred Yamamoto literally died fighting Hitler. I guess that’s his only association with Adolf Hitler.

Japanese Americans were literally bombed by Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku. Fred volunteered to fight him.


4 people like this
Posted by Jordan 1970
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2018 at 11:09 am

"Why does the person have to be a Palo Altan?"

It doesn't have to be. Let's do as they do with athletic fields and name the schools for the highest corporate bidders.

Facebook Middle School

Google Middle School

They have a nice ring to them, don't they?


25 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 22, 2018 at 11:30 am

YP is a registered user.

For those angry with this whole process please take a few minutes to let our school board know at board@pausd.org


12 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2018 at 11:51 am

Posted by Explanations on the culture and hitorical differences, a resident of Barron Park

>> - For those born and educated in US, Isoroku Yamamoto is not a familiar name. In Asian countries, Isoroku Yamamoto is one of the most notorious WWII criminals.

I assume that you mean because of his leadership as Admiral at the time of Pearl Harbor? To my knowledge, Yamamoto was not particularly associated with -war crimes-. As an aside, "Yamamoto" is a common family name in Japan, although it sounds much more distinctive in English than, for example, the name "Lee", which could be almost anyone anywhere.

Web Link

One of his subordinates, Chuichi Nagumo, apparently did.

Web Link

One notable war crime, the sinking of the hospital ship Centaur, happened after the death of Yamamoto, and was the responsibility of the submarine commander Hajime Nakagawa.

IOW, I'm not sure why Yamamoto is considered particularly -criminal-. Compared to, say, the right-wing Lieutenant General/Prince Yasuhiko Asaka, who was directly responsible for the enormous atrocities at Nanjing, and who was considered protected from responsibility because he was part of the Imperial Family:

Web Link

or Isamu Cho, who delivered the order to kill at Nanjing, and, went on through the war, concluding at Okinawa:

Web Link

"Asaka" and "Cho" are not very distinctive names, though not as common as "Lee".

While Asaka lived to age 93, Fred Yamamoto and Isoroku Yamamoto both died in the service of their respective countries. Bottom Line: Can you expand on why "Isoroku Yamamoto is one of the most notorious WWII criminals"? I may be missing something.

And which is a long way of saying, I still favor naming schools after trees.


41 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 22, 2018 at 12:28 pm

1. What are the names of the people who started this fiasco? I want to order t-shirts that say Call me Naive.

2. There are two grownups on the School Board:

"Board member Todd Collins and President Ken Dauber disagreed, suggesting that the district instead install memorial plaques at the middle schools that honor the six recommended individuals and other Palo Altans in the future."


17 people like this
Posted by It is pc
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 22, 2018 at 12:38 pm

‘How would this look in digital news feeds?

"Palo Alto school figures worked to nationalize forced sterilization policy, community says "never mind," overturns renaming" ‘

This is the argument from political correctness, and the fact that it is an argument at all cuts to the heart of this fiasco.

It should be almost completely discounted, as should all the results of effort to prove that the current names are indeed politically incorrect.

Political correctness is worth something. But not enough to suck board time and money and upset people. The whole point of this branch of PC is to not upset people.


Like this comment
Posted by Yuri
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2018 at 1:54 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 22, 2018 at 2:19 pm

^ Savage Middle School already exists in Modesto.


56 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Perhaps Nimbostratus Middle School? After all, nimbostratus clouds produce a lot of snowflakes.


112 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Wouldn't it be nice if residents could actually vote whether or not the names should be changed in the first place? Then, if the city votes to change the names, put the choices up for a vote too?

I'm one of those people who believes that this is much ado about nothing. The real tragedy is in trying to wash away history because some child was taught by a father to be offended.


54 people like this
Posted by Jordan parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


39 people like this
Posted by Fruits and nuts
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm

Lol, those who are worried about the digital news feed and what others will think, worry no more! The rest of the US already thinks Californians have lost their collective minds and pretty much don't pay attention to this craziness. Really.


32 people like this
Posted by Washington
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 22, 2018 at 3:34 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


79 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm

This whole debacle reminds me of that old NBC comedy "Community."

The administration of the fictitious "Greendale Community College" decides that the former flag and mascot (Grizzly Bears) for the community college are offensive and just not politically correct enough. So, they endeavor to create the most unoffensive mascot and flag as possible.

The administrators ended up choosing the "Human Being." A student would wear a faceless unitard outfit for sporting events and official school functions. Eventually, even this was deemed offensive because a male was in the unitard. This led to switching between males and females for school events.

I suppose that there was a moral in this ongoing joke. It really underlies the truth that people are often fickle and someone somewhere will always be offended by something.

This is similar to how I feel about the renaming of the schools.

Eugenics is an unfortunate part of the past that was widely accepted. Slavery is too (and it existed on every continent throughout human history). This doesn't mean that we can't admire men like Washington and Jefferson despite knowledge that they were slave owners. We can admire men like Nikola Tesla despite some of the controversies in his life surrounding eugenics.

People are fallible. We all walk a journey of discovery through life. Sometimes, we diverge off of a path for various reasons and consider things that we later regret. Sometimes, this is because society itself encourages it.

Many people studied eugenics at one point. It was a popular topic of discussion among academics. This doesn't mean that people embraced ALL of the tenants of it or that they didn't come to regret such folly later on.

I just think that there was enough good from David Starr Jordan to merit his name on the middle school. Besides, that name isn't there because of eugenics. No one would have given it much thought if a student wasn't prompted to announce it (and probably at the assistance of a parent).


87 people like this
Posted by Midtown Dad
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 4:10 pm

I am saddened and appalled. How did we get to this point ? We got bogged down by matter that should not have been an issue in the first place. Our intellect, and well honed common sense were reduced to such an elementary level that we could not untangle this simple mess.

Dr. Jordan and Dr. Terman lived in an era when eugenic Movement was one school of trends at their time. It happened in this country, in Europe and in Japan.

When Europeans and Americans chased down and captured Africans all over their continent as if they were wild animals, traded them like commodities, enslaved them and gave them no rights, was this eugenic?

After Industrial Revolution, Europeans, with guns and cannons, sailed across oceans to colonize, exploit and rob every corner of the globe in name of religious salvation. The Brits even once boasted “ The sun never sets on their lands”. And what did American settlers do to indians and Mexicans ? Was this eugenic?

In the mid 1800s’, Japan caught on Industrial Revolution from Europe and quickly modernized its country. All of a sudden, the Japanese felt they were the superior race in Asia. Therefore, it was in their divine rights to colonize the entire Asia. Was this eugenic?

These were all part of a presumed “ superior” race ravaging the rest of “inferior” races, a part of unfortunate movement in our human history. Have we not passed this yet?

Jordan and Terman’s involvement in the study of Eugenics holds no candle to the massive practice by Americans, Europeans and Japanese during that era. If they were guilty, then somebody in our family from the older generations must be guilty as well. Shall we create a movement to detach ourselves from our parents, grandparents who were part of White Supremacy era? Or even remove their names from our family tree? Or maybe we shall eradicate the entire white race from earth as a repent.

Come on! This is all nonsense. We shall move on. The best way to educate our children is to face up to it and teach them this part of history. The names of Jordan and Terman can be a starting point, not to just remove them. sweep them under the carpet and pretend they didn’t exist. This is not the best manifestation of education.

Today, we have so many smart people here arguing, fighting, trying to rectify such microscopic traces of the time and fail to see a much grandeur historical perspective. I’m really dumbfounded. This is a total waste of our wisdom, our time and our resources. I believe we are much smarter than this. And I hope that we all will do the right thing and make the right decision on a more elevated and unbiased scale for our children to see.

Please, keep the names of the schools, turn them into educational sources and let’s move on.


18 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2018 at 4:30 pm

An odd aspect of this is that those who are protesting most vociferously vs Jordan and Terman and others who added to the collective weight of intellectual opinion regarding eugenics in bygone eras are the most slavish followers of the faddish intellectual opinion in the current era. It's not hard to imagine that those howling most loudly about Terman et. al. now would have been railing against the scientifically proved inferior races had they been born 150 years ago.


48 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 22, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Thank you Nayeli and Midtown Dad for their clear and and concrete analysis of this whole renaming saga. Their analysis is the clearest I have seen. Please respect history and learn from it. Historic people should be evaluated in their historic context. Our moral standard changes with time. Please always try to apply today's moral standard to 300 years ago.


93 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 5:05 pm

So much time have been wasted.

Why no one starts a RECALL? Can someone get signatures going and put this on the ballot once and for all?

Just YES and NO to name change. If more than 50% says NO, which I think is likely to happen, then this bizarre show should stop.


55 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 22, 2018 at 5:24 pm

"A majority on the school board -- three out of five members -- agreed last week that the schools should honor people rather than places."

Heads up, Palo Alto High School! You're next.


7 people like this
Posted by Vasche LaMou
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 22, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Schools are best named after people who (maybe) never existed. Like this worthy applicant, introduced by Mark Twain Web Link: "The greatest military genius our world ever produced was a brick-layer from somewhere back of Boston - died during the Revolution - by the name of Absalom Jones. Wherever he goes [in heaven], crowds flock to see him. You see, everybody knows that if he had had a chance he would have shown the world some generalship that would have made all generalship before look like child's play and 'prentice work. But he never got a chance; he tried heaps of times to enlist as a private, but he had lost both thumbs and a couple of front teeth, and the recruiting sergeant wouldn't pass him. However, as I say, everybody knows, now, what he WOULD have been, - and so they flock by the million to get a glimpse of him whenever they hear he is going to be anywhere. Caesar, and Hannibal, and Alexander, and Napoleon are all on his staff, and ever so many more great generals; but the public hardly care to look at THEM when HE is around."

Think of it--an unrealized genius to contrast against the other kind we have too many of and who knows what they have buried in their pasts.


5 people like this
Posted by Emily Litella
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 22, 2018 at 6:24 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


Like this comment
Posted by Yuri
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2018 at 6:41 pm

Dear EL,

"Long Classes Held by Boring Teachers" is the issue that we've all been too naive to grasp. Those teachers should be loaded onto trucks and shipped inland somewhere, just like Mr. Yamamoto. That will clean out the problem pronto. Then the great teachers can just waltz right on in and fix the poor excuse of a eugenics associated middle school with some proper eugenics. Sure you are the one who should lead the charge, eugenically speaking.


20 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2018 at 6:56 pm

@Emily Litella - Who is shaming middle schoolers?


9 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 22, 2018 at 8:59 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Midtown Dad

"The best way to educate our children is to face up to it and teach them this part of history."

Couldn't agree more. Fortunately, teaching about eugenics and the local connections to it is one of the changes implemented by the district as part of the renaming decision. All that history had been lost to the community for decades, when this process began two and a half years ago. As students learn the history of scientific racism and (negative)eugenics attached to David Starr Jordan and Lewis Terman it will seem inconceivable to them that local norms left those names unchallenged for so long. Thanks for your thoughtful post.


56 people like this
Posted by Amused Not Amused
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 22, 2018 at 9:42 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


83 people like this
Posted by Five Against Thousands
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 22, 2018 at 10:34 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


51 people like this
Posted by Paly Mom
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2018 at 12:02 am

School board, please stop waste our taxpayer's money to rename the schools. You have to rename the schools, please use Geographical names.


43 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 23, 2018 at 8:46 am

@Jerry Underdal
I agree with you the aspect of accepting the history and learning from it. However, I do not agree with the conclusion that you drew from it.

Founding fathers of America, Washington, Jefferson and Lewis owned slaves, a much severe sin than eugenics attached to David Starr Jordan and Lewis Terman. Should we all be ashamed of being Americans? Should we strip them of all honors attributed to them?

Historic people should be evaluated in their historic context.


39 people like this
Posted by Carrie K
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 23, 2018 at 10:06 am

Strongly disagree about renaming! We need to look forward not backward. It's a waste of money, energy and emotion. Do something constructive not destructive!


11 people like this
Posted by a resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2018 at 10:10 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


14 people like this
Posted by Terman parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2018 at 10:23 am

Terman PTA sent out an urgent survey to Terman community on Tuesday (3/20) at 2:04pm, and the survey disappeared the next morning (Wednesday) without any communication until Thursday afternoon at 2:26pm. Why? Below is the email a group of Terman parents sent to Terman PTA and the board Tuesday evening. Let's see who is pushing for person's names including Yamamoto, and how they are doing it.

Dear Terman PTA,
You sent out an urgent survey (forwarded below) to the Terman community regarding school renaming this afternoon. Given its urgent nature and the fact that it covers a very sensitive topic, this survey caused confusion and even stress in many parents. I spoke with some of them in the past few hours, and below is a list of questions from all of us:
1. Why was this survey created?
Why are we having an urgent survey? Given that a petition “Not Naming Our School After a Person’s Name (incl. Yamamoto)” was launched yesterday and has already collected 970+ signatures, parents are wondering whether the survey was designed to counter it.
2. How will the survey results be used?
Will the survey be used as a reference point, or play a big role in the decision made by the Board?
3. Was the survey requested by the Board or certain Board members?
You said in your email that the survey results will be sent to the Board. Parents are asking whether you initiated the survey by yourself, or per the Board’s request? Did the Board know about the survey before it was launched?
4. Who is supposed to take the survey?
Is it only for current Terman families? Can Terman alumni families take it as well? Can other Palo Alto families take it? Can non-Palo Alto families take it? Since it is not clear who can take it, the survey was already widely spread this afternoon. Therefore, many non Terman families have taken it. Please note that when you send the survey results to the board, it’s not just the opinions of the Terman families.
5. Is the survey legitimate?
Parents found that you can re-take the survey again and again. Also, no name or email is collected from people taking the survey. Therefore, they are not sure if the survey is legitimate. If it is not, they are worried that the survey reports will be used to support certain biases in decision making. Some parents are even stressed about whether they should take the survey at all.
6. Who designed the survey questions?
Parents are asking if the survey was designed by one person or a group of people. Were they done in a very short time, or they have gone through thorough reviews and discussions? Given the time it was sent out, its urgent nature, and what happened in the past few days, many parents are worried that the survey was designed by one person or very small group of people who might already have a strong preference.
7. Is the survey objective?
The email message that was sent out with the survey link stated that “there are 3 School Board members who are leaning towards renaming our school for an inspiring person. There are 2 School Board members who prefer to rename our school for the geographical location of Adobe Creek.”
Additionally, the survey itself starts with “1. The School Board majority is leaning towards naming Terman for an inspiring person,” and the option to rank the names. It is only after people finish all this that they get to see the second question asking whether they prefer a location name over a person’s name.
There are several issues with this design:
a) The survey was designed to influence survey takers. It emphasized that a majority of the board’s preferences are person’s names twice, which is a strong hint and will likely impact some people’s opinion. An objective survey would not do that.
b) The survey was designed to mislead the survey takers. It starts by asking taker to rank 6 people’s names, and some people will start ranking them without knowing that there are location choices later. Only after they spend the time ranking the six people will they see the 2nd question about location choices. At this point, some might just choose no, or no opinion simply because they have already spent time ranking the people. A logical and objective survey would give the choice of person verses location name first. Then, if someone chooses people, he or she can rank the 6 of them. If someone chooses location, they can stop without ranking the people. Or, you can even list all 8 candidates (people and locations) together, and let people choose 2 out of the 8.
c) The survey was designed to skew the survey results towards the person choice. It has default ranking for the 6 persons, which means that even if someone chooses ‘yes’ to locations only for #2 and do not touch #1, the survey result already has a ranking for persons names and therefore votes. Unless the rule is that ‘if someone chooses ‘yes’ for #2, the default result of #1 will not be counted,’ the survey results will be totally wrong. However, because this rule is not clear, parents are very stressed that they involuntarily voted for the persons choice even though they did not touch it and only wanted location choices.
d) Late this evening, the survey itself just changed (The people choices no longer have default ranking) without informing the whole Terman community. This change was only discovered by accident. Many people who took the survey before this evening are not aware of the changes.

With all the above, many parents got confused, stressed, suspicious and upset. We hope you can address the questions above, clarify the rules, correct the misleading and biased design, and calm the disturbed Terman community and beyond.

Thank you!
A group of Terman parents


13 people like this
Posted by Terman parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2018 at 10:27 am

Below is the email Terman parents sent Wednesday (3/21) eveninng asking for a communication:

Dear Terman PTA,

Many parents noticed this morning that the link to the survey about school renaming was no longer working. However, there was no communication sent out to the Terman community about the disappearance of the survey. Throughout the day, parents have been waiting and checking.

Due to the lack of communication, parents grew more and more confused, as they don’t know what happened. Was the survey withdrawn? If so, why? Or it was pulled due to its flawed design, to be rewritten and sent out again? Was it closed early, and will the data collected with it still be used? Some parents got anxious, as they had not yet had a chance to finish the survey and were afraid that their voices would not be heard.

As you know, it’s a very sensitive time now, especially for some parents, who are already emotional due to the controversial issue over certain renaming candidates. Yesterday morning, parents were shocked by the [portion removed] comments Keri Wagner, ex-president and current executive board member of the Gunn PTSA, wrote to The Mercury News (Web Link). In the afternoon, they received an obviously biased survey from the Terman PTA, and today, the survey disappeared without any communication for the whole day. Because of this, there are a lot of speculations and rumors about what is going on, all of which further divide the community and stress parents out.

Can you please send out a notice to the Terman community soon? They deserve to know what is going on for their peace of mind, and also for the unity of the community.

Thank you!

A group of Terman parents


18 people like this
Posted by Lenore
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2018 at 10:40 am

Obviously this subject raises a whole lotta emotions. I vote for leaving the name as is- there will always be some pleased and displeased people.

If Yamamoto and Terman are unacceptable - why not name the school Fred and Fred Jr. High School, or Fred's Jr. High School.... everyone wins, Where is there a law that says a naming of a school has to have the first and last name.

Maybe why we are made fun of in other place (and we are) or we laugh about ourselves is that we argue the small stuff with passion and no time or money left to dig into the big issues - EDUCATION.


18 people like this
Posted by PA Homeowner
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 23, 2018 at 12:44 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


328 people like this
Posted by bmyy
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Mar 23, 2018 at 1:03 pm

Top likes (over 200) of this thread in descending order as of Mar 23, 12:55pm:

256 people like this: "The whole discussion about renaming the schools is a waste of time. ... " - Chris Gaither
211 people like this: "This is precisely why it would be better to not name the schools after people. ..." - Dan
205 people like this: "... For the sake of racial political correctness, the Board is wasting OUR resources and time." - Downtown parent
201 people like this: "It is totally a waste of resources to change the school names. ..." - Charade


Like this comment
Posted by John Koster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 23, 2018 at 1:22 pm

RE History -- Japan did not invade Korea during World War II. Theodore Roosevelt gave Korea to Japan with the Taft-Katsura Agreement in 1905 and gave first rights in Manchuria to Japan with the Root-Takahira Agreement of 1908. Japan was a British ally in World War I, as was the United States. There is NO authority for the idea that the Japanese murdered 25 million Chinese -- Mao probably did, but he was Chinese himself. A lot of German Jews fought heroically for the Kaiser in World War I but Hitler refused to acknowledge that. Check out the analogy here and see who the bigots are. Read OPERATION SNOW and find out why Pearl Harbor happened.


12 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2018 at 1:26 pm

How many times is this worn out argument going to be offered ? --- no one learns history from the name of their school. Those who rely on this argument need to crack a real history book once in a while, assuming they sincerely care about learning from history.

A pretty good book to put all this in context is "The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball" © 2017 by Noam Cohen. While not exclusively about Jordan and Terman, the lives and works of both are put in context to Silicon Valley and their times.

In its way this book also gives a clue as to why Stanford and Palo Alto are so different from the rest of the local Bay Area. If you go and read the comments on most of the other local cities online forums they are much less volatile and extreme compared to Palo Alto which has a really strong streak of know-it-all-ism and arrogance from its wealth and political connections. ( are we not learning anything from our experience globally with super-rich politicians? ) A most interesting and enlightening read.

The other resources I often point to is the discussion of this subject by Michael Krazny and guests on KQED's Forum program of a year ago at this link: Web Link

My opinion, change these schools' names and do not name them after people.

PS - I find it so funny how on some subjects the usual PAO extremists tell us in such strong terms to buck up and move on, but on the issues that they disagree with they will complain and argue in the most disingenuous ways, neverending-ly.


10 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Anything for a buck, huh John Koster? Who posted ....
> Read OPERATION SNOW and find out why Pearl Harbor happened.

Listing on Amazon.Com:
Operation Snow: How a Soviet Mole in FDR's White House Triggered Pearl Harbor Hardcover – September 17, 2012
by John Koster (Author)


1 person likes this
Posted by Think Sports Too
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 23, 2018 at 1:40 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


14 people like this
Posted by thoughts
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Mar 23, 2018 at 3:01 pm

@Jerry Underdahl
We had Dana Tom on the school board for way too long, and it did not create a situation in which leadership was especially sensitive to anyone, Asian or no. Setting up a situation in which the racial makeup of the school board is a proxy for solving serious problems of insularity between leadership and those they ostensibly serve, is unhelpful and only kicking the can down the road. It wouldn't have helped in the OCR complaints, the sexual assault problems, students with disabilities and color being subject to police being called more frequently, etc. What does help is when there are mechanisms to hear and respond appropriately to the many voices of the public, work with families, hear and solve complaints as they happen and not just after children and families are hurt and retaliated against for long periods of time.

The school district needs an ombudsperson who serves the families and public, and who answers outside the district (for example, to the city council) and is not subject to the district power structure, and can even ensure district legal is working for the benefit of the district and its proper functioning, not CYA for people who should be called to the carpet. The recent situation with Kim Diorio would never have happened if the teachers and school site administrators and parents could have gone to an ombudsperson when the leadership repeatedly told the site leadership not to investigate the Title IX violation allegations (and site leadership did nothing else about it to be upstanders against bad direction from leadership that had damaging consequences to the children).

I do think names of the schools are important, and am sad the Terman name cannot be kept for the right reasons. Jordan at a minimum should be renamed, not just because of the eugenics. I loved learning about all the honorees, perhaps creating memorials for them in the libraries would be a good next step. I have nothing further to say except that this is window dressing when our district has some really serious problems that still affect the emotional wellbeing and educational access of families.


25 people like this
Posted by Graduated from Terman
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 23, 2018 at 3:21 pm

My girls graduated from Jordan when I said it will be renamed to another person’s name they said “oh really why?!”

Stop renaming to another person! if have to then renaming to a nice place or tree name as Terman is surrounded by beautiful trees!!


18 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 23, 2018 at 3:28 pm

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

@Thoughts

The idea of having a district ombudsperson has interested me since I saw it come up on TS and in the Weekly, but I haven't seen it rise to the level of being taken up for discussion by the board. I may have missed a district statement dismissing it and explaining the reasoning. Perhaps It's a big lift with an acting superintendent and board elections coming up soon. Maybe next year. Do you have a plan for getting it on the agenda for discussion?

You make a good point that we shouldn't overstress ethnicity as a marker, but the idea of representation is important. If on issue after issue an organization is blindsided, it suggests to me that there's a problem.


5 people like this
Posted by Antipropaganda
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2018 at 1:00 am

Please don't be misled by propaganda.

Yamamoto Isoroku was against the warfare to the last and he refused a admiral rank many times.
As it were, he was cornered by Japan and US.
This is a truth in history.
If you want to attack him, then you have to ask yourself as follows.
"Can I protect my family from two countries alone?"
[Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Yuri
a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2018 at 10:12 am

Now that Jordan has nine brand new, high definition, remote controlled surveillance cameras in the hallways, an appropriate name could be George Orwell middle school (or penitentiary). Any skeletons in his closet? Ole George would appreciate some of the double speak that emanates from the building, like "aligned differentiated instruction" or the lock step sanitized curriculum that teachers are being "encouraged" to adopt.

The sports teams can be called the 84's. You know, kind of like the 76ers or 49ers.


8 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

Yuri ... can the over-the-top Orwellian nonsense, we all know why there are cameras in schools these days.


Like this comment
Posted by John Koster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 24, 2018 at 1:03 pm

RE -- Anything for...The Truth. Six of my relatives volunteered for World War II and my cousin and I both volunteer for Viet Nam. If you can't find my book OPERATION SNOW look up STALIN'S SECRET AGENTS by Herbert Romerstein or THE BATTLE OF BRETTON WOODS by Benn Steil. Al three books and several others will tell you that Harry Dexter White, a U.S. born Stanford graduate, Ph.D. from Harvard and a Soviet secret agent, manipulated us into provoking Japan with idle threats under orders from the NKVD. Or read the original OPERATION SNOW in RUSSIAN, where the NKVD guy, Vitalii Pavlov, calls Harry Dexter White a Soviet hero. Then read FORGOTTEN ALLY by Rana Mitter and learn that a million Chinese fought for Japan, or THIS KIND OF WAR by T.R. Fehrenbach and learn that 77 per cent of Americans captured by the Japanese lived and 59 per cent of the Americans captured by the Chinese Communists in Korea died. Then ask Xi Jinping for what to say next.


12 people like this
Posted by Playing Deaf and Blind
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2018 at 1:43 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


14 people like this
Posted by Why
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2018 at 3:49 pm

John Koster, What is your point? Do we have to dig way back to how many American Indians were killed? How do all these related to renaming the school? Because it brought people all together for hatred?


22 people like this
Posted by Why
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm

John Koster, If you were a man of the truth, as you claimed, you should have had at least one copy of "The Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang in your book collection.


23 people like this
Posted by New PAUSD Survey Needed
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2018 at 5:26 pm

New PAUSD Survey Needed is a registered user.

Our schools are intended to be higher institutions of learning. This means teaching our students about history, not erasing it.

We teach our students the value in making mistakes so they develop "grit" and "resilience" (lateast PC buzz words) - "learn and grow from your failures" adults and teachers tell them. We do not teach our students to erase their mistakes and pretend they didn't happen. Using this current PAUSD philosophy, practice what you preach School Board and Renaming Committee!!! Leave the school names as they are and use them as teaching tools. Teach both what was admirable about the people who schools were named after (yes, they were considered admirable at one point and still are by some people) and what was not admirable (now that we live in a different era and abide by a different set of ethical metrics). Teach, don't erase!


19 people like this
Posted by Email Board
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 24, 2018 at 9:03 pm

PAUSD board members will not honor comments here since it is anonymous. Please email your comment to board@pausd.org. Please let them know your voice! Let Palo Alto residents & students, and Alumni to decide whether we SHOULD rename our schools, not just 5 people to decide for us!


5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 24, 2018 at 9:24 pm

>> The comments here clearly show that the majority Palo Alto citizens do not want to rename our schools!

LOL, maybe if this was an unbiased sample, but it is not. Alluding to my earlier comment ... why are the comments in Palo Alto so brazenly more right-wing than any other city around here? Why do right-wing comments rarely get deleted on PAO, and continual jabs are Liberals peppered all through every Town Square Forum in Palo Alto. Both Jordan and Terman factor into that indirectly, but not in an insignificant way.

The so-called moderation in Palo Alto is statistically slanted, as are the comments, so pretending this is an objective unbiased sample or that anything on PAO is as it seems is not a conclusion the facts warrant. PAO is about as close as you can get to Fake-News this side of the old Iron Curtain, reflecting why this community has changed so drastically in the last decades.

Not to mention that since renaming the school is the correct and sensible thing to do, as would be pulling down a Confederate monument, if we had one here, it doesn't matter what the majority say. The majority can be wrong, and than God we have enough responsible people to ignore them when they are.

The right and the responsible thing to do is to rename the schools as it would be to pull down Confederate monuments if we had them.


3 people like this
Posted by Yuri
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2018 at 9:27 am

Dear Crescent Park Anon,

Why are the camera's being installed? You seem to be the expert here. Please illuminate the community about the understaffed, overcrowded school that is bursting at the seems. I guess it is best to go with the cheap and easy "fix". Kind of akin to re-naming a school (easy, not so cheap) instead of facing history, and having an honest discussion as to why the current Jordan namesake is worthy and not so worthy. There was no dialogue with staff about the camera installation, it just happened. I'm sure the cameras will deter some malicious activities, but they will not address the larger issues that led to their deployment. To grasp and tackle those issues requires a concerted and sustained effort, adequate funding, and an honest discussion with stakeholders about the direction the school is heading. Too much for an overburdened district to handle, I suppose. And you wonder why parents sue the district and win when they make the case that PAUSD schools cannot meet their child's needs.


2 people like this
Posted by Yuri
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2018 at 9:38 am

Dear Terman Parent,
[Post removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by Gong
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 25, 2018 at 11:58 am

As a Chinese American, with children who are half Chinese and half Japanese, I am very disappointed in the recent turn of events by a particular group of people who blocked the recommendation by the school board. Fred Yamamoto is a distinguished citizen and deserves to be honored. My Chinese parents see nothing wrong with using Mr. Yamamoto's name and does not feel offended. There is no relation, no blood line to the "other" Yamamoto. This is a very narrow minded racist way of thinking. Is this how these children are being brought up to think?


2 people like this
Posted by John Koster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2018 at 7:24 am

My next book was done with the help of a Chinese-born translator raised partly in Shanghai. When she read the Nanking Safety Zone Committee figures compiled by American and British missionaries and two Germans, one of them Jewish, she concluded -- as the rest of us did -- that Nanking was a real massacre of Chinese deserters and there were about 20,000 executions and 360 rapes, eight with murder. The dead were 97 per cent y9oung males -- very few women or children. The Chinese Red Swastika Society claimed payment for about 20,000 burials. Incidentally, the Chinese census showed 200,000 Chinese in Nanking and Iris Chang's supposed history book claims the Japanese killed 300,000 of them. My many Chinese friends are all good at math -- including a foster son who adopted ME. They know that there were some genuine murders and many battlefield executions of men caught out of uniform but that the inflated death toll and number of rapes were conjured up to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Japan and to justify the atomic bombings of Japan/ Chiang Kai-shek's Prussian general, Alexander von Falkenhausen said the atomic bombings were War Crimes, just as he said that Nanking was a War Crime. I suspect that Iris Chang shot herself because she knew she had been used by Chinese Communist propagandists and she had the decency to feel a deep sense of shame. She had a right to be angry but she had no right -- if she knew -- to delude gullible people with fake numbers. Let me add that she knew NOTHING about the history of friendship between China and Japan before 1931, when Dr. Sun Tat-sen and Torazo Miyazaki worked together to liberate China and when Hirobumi Ito worked to throw the colonialists out of Asia. He book was a combination of innocence and ignorance and most of the photographs are fake, though some are real. (The beheading photo shows the sun casting shadows in two directions at the same time) I'm sorry Iris felt she had to die after being mislead and abused. She probably believed every word she wrote until she discovered the real facts.


4 people like this
Posted by John Koster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2018 at 7:34 am

Note to WHY -- I am a foster brother to a Lakota (Sioux) family and worked for many months to win justice for members of the American Indian Movement who were forced to take violent action by oppressed tribal and state politicians. Three close friends of mine were fatally shot and others were wounded. I had my phone taped for two years. My book ion the subject, THE ROAD TO WOUNDED KNEE, sold 480,00 copies. Now tell me what YOU know about Indians and what you have done to tell them. After all, it's all about paying your rent to the real owners of America.

PS: When I visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield last summer, the Asians listening to the lecture about Custer's Last Stand were all smiling -- and not just to be polite. None of the veterans in my family had any problems with the Lakota and Cheyenne defending their land and their families. None of them had an problems with the concept that Japan had been deliberately provoked to make Pearl Harbor happen.


2 people like this
Posted by sever
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2018 at 9:25 am

this forum is hurting the community


13 people like this
Posted by John Koster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2018 at 10:39 am

Which community is it hurting? The Japanese-Americans who won 21 Medals of Honor and a thousand Bronze Stars fighting for the United States against the Nazis -- and, as interpreters, against the Japanese Army? The good and decent Chinese-Americans and Korean-Americans who want to get along with other Asians and everybody else and leave old hatred behind them? Or the handful of activists who think Palo Alto is part of Communist China or North Korea and want to use Pearl Harbor to drive a wedge between the United States and a reliable ally?? Their whole argument is fraudulent. Most of the early U.S. presidents were slave-owners and California had a record of outright genocide against harmless Indians. No Japanese-Americans involved. Take that one up with the Boa5d of Education.


6 people like this
Posted by Jerry Underdal
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2018 at 11:20 am

Jerry Underdal is a registered user.

I urge everyone to read the letter to the editor by fourth-generation Californian Dr. Allan Said titled "Standing up for Fred."

I'm unsure how to start a thread from a letter to the editor, but the content deserves to be part of this online discussion.

Hoping it's ok to do so, I have typed in the closing paragraphs of his letter and encourage discussion.

"As a Chinese-ancestry person who also had many clan members murdered and tortured by troops of Japanese in WWII, I share the profound animosity for those individuals who caused suffering to my ancestral family and others.

Yet, I also find it necessary, while being proud of one's country of origin, fore us not to unwittingly join the bigots and supremacists in America who allege that Chinese-Americans and Chinese immigrants are unreasonably passionate and disproportionately obsessed with historical issues from the old country at the expense of doing violence to a loyal American hero.

I stand for Fred Yamamoto as being equally deserving as the other namesake nominees for a Palo Alto middle school.

I do take issue with the error of not including an Asian-American member on the Recommending Names Committee, especially in light of our school district's large number of Asian-ancestry students--an omission all too common.:"

Moderator: would it be possible for you to start a thread on the letter?


7 people like this
Posted by Ron Fent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm

I think this is great. I wish people would look at history before getting in a huff. Japanese Americans deserve honors for what they went through during the war. And here is an AMERICAN that gave his life in service to our nation. This is a no-brainer. Please support the naming of the school!

Ron Fent
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm

All those in favor of war memorials in Palo Alto say aye.


4 people like this
Posted by thoughts
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Mar 26, 2018 at 3:39 pm

This is not a joke. I have come to the conclusion that we should name the schools for the ideals the district espouses:
Upstander Middle School
Honor and Honesty Middle School
Set a Better Example Middle School

Other ideas?

I think it's worth the money to directly orient the staff to those ideas, which have been so compromised in our district in recent years, every day. We can make them sound great by using a nicer sounding foreign word. Someone care to translate those to Latin? "Honor and Trustworthiness" might be even better than "honor and honesty".

How about:

Honoris et Integritas Middle School

Fide Honoris Middle School (or F. Honoris Middle School for short, although that may get shortened to F$%^ Honoris Middle School if the culture from the top doesn't change).

As much as I admire Juana Briones, naming the school after her doesn't inspire honesty and integrity like the school simply being named after those important character traits. There is all kinds of social research about the importance of making promises, about how people are much more likely to keep an overt promise. Why not make the school name a promise from the staff and community to the students, and something we aspire to teach them?

I am for that above a person or a place name.

Integritas et Honoris Middle School -- IEH Middle School -- starts with "I", easy to say, just like JLS.


@Jerry Underdahl,
Speaking of needing integrity, there is no way the district is going to create an effective ombuds position. Foxes don't bring in guards to the henhouse, dictators never create checks and balances in their governments. The community will have to create the position through community discussion, action, and amendment to the city charter in spite of the school administration, not through it. This has been discussed on TS at length.





29 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

THE BOARD OF RE-EDUCATION

Perhaps part of the uproar from residents about the name changes is the concern that the school board and PTA have become increasingly politicized, radicalized and authoritarian.

Strangely, they are more than willing to require 12 year olds to learn about three explicit types of sex but can't bring themselves to acknowledge the biological and pychological differences between boys and girls.

[Portion removed.]

Of course, there is no room for opposing viewpoints. Facts that don't support the party narrative are censored in the name of hate speech. Indoctrination is preferred over exploration.

Apparently, the socratic method is just as outlawed as the scientific method. The only thing randomized and double blind about the re-education board is seemingly the method in which they select superintendents and principals.

[Portion removed.]

At first step, they rightfully rage against eugenics and the viewpoint that somebody could be discriminated against based on immutable birth characteristics like skin color.

-- and then they promote a widespread theory of white privelage that discriminates against the immutable birth characteristic of skin color.

Not surprisingly, they actively assualt the tenets of our constitution by censoring free speech, tacitly supporting protests against the 2nd amendment and denying due process through Title IX kagaroo courts.

Instead of teaching our children how to resolve and overlook differences they obsess on identifying and magnifying them. It is protest and persecution rather than thoughtful debate. The traditional three "R's" of reading, 'riting and 'rithmatics have been replaced by reductionism, racism and retribution.

Like an idealogical Dorian Gray, they present the beautiful face of a liberal utopia but the public sees every mark of hypocracy and deceipt amassing on the portrait of post modernism and cultural marxism.

So maybe this incident has struck a nerve and reached a tipping point because many of the diverse constituents in Palo Alto have seen the beginnings of this game played out before on a grander scale in the gulags of Russia, the concentration camps in Germany, the reform-through-labor camps in China and the killing fields in Cambodia and Cuba.

Not everything is a cause to be battled. Stop the idealogy and just give our students their childhoods back.


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Posted by @Sanctimonious Poster
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2018 at 8:44 pm

Speaking of education -- you definitely need to redo yours, chap. Spelling errors, syntax errors, massive errors in logic...you need help. Bigly.


10 people like this
Posted by Email Board
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 26, 2018 at 10:14 pm

According to Renaming Committee Final Report Web Link

page 52 to 53:

Jordan:
Painting $51,000
Signs $14,700
Office/Library/Spirit $11,315
Gym $20,550
Subtotal $97,565
Contingency 10,000
Jordan Site Cost Estimates: $107,565


Terman:

Signs $23,400
Office/Library/Spirit $4,155
Gym $18,000
Subtotal $45,555
Contingency $10,000
Terman Site Cost Estimates: $55,555

Middle School Athletics: 2x uniforms: $25,480, 3x uniforms: $38,220
Total: 2x Uniforms: $188,600
3x Uniforms: $201,340

How about the brand names, advertisement?


5 people like this
Posted by Lewis Madison Terman
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Mar 27, 2018 at 12:05 am

[Post removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 27, 2018 at 8:19 am

How disappointing that (supposedly educated) Palo Altans insist on politicizing local historic or cultural references. The physical cost of changing school names is nothing compared to the value of the thousands of wo/man hours involved in this debate.
Either just drop the offending first names and leave the surnames in place. Find some meritorious person with the same surname if necessary & create a new bio. I don't want my kids going to a school named Yamamoto (my uncle was killed at Pearl Harbor) or some woman whose name few can pronounce or spell.
A better use of valuable time & energy would be to go volunteer at one of the schools, or at a fundraiser, or help at one of the reading programs.
Either sell naming rights - Palantir Middle, anyone? Name them for their directional locations or street names. Hillsborough, for example, has 3 elementary schools - North, South, and West. No political correctness disputes, ever.


27 people like this
Posted by Midtown Dad
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 27, 2018 at 10:50 am

No Name Changes
Jordan and Terman were not guilty!
We are!

Dr. Jordan and Dr. Terman lived in an era when eugenic Movement was a national practice in this country, in Europe and in Japan.

When the Europeans and Americans chased down and captured Africans on their continent as if they were wild animals, traded them like commodities, enslaved them and gave them no rights, was this eugenic?

After the New Discovery, Europeans, with guns and cannons, sailed across oceans to colonize, exploit and rob every corner of the globe in names of salvation and commerce. What American settlers did to indians and Mexicans and more recently, the Japanese encampment and Black segregations? Was this eugenic?

In the mid 1800s’, Japan caught on Industrial Revolution from Europe and quickly modernized its country. All of a sudden, the Japanese felt they were the superior race of Asia. Therefore, it was in their divine rights to colonize lands of eastern Asian countries. Was this eugenic?

These were all part of a presumed “ superior” race ravaging the rest of “inferior” races, a part of unfortunate movement in our human history. Jordan and Terman’s involvement in the study of Eugenics holds no candle to the massive practice on national scale by Americans, Europeans and Japanese during that era. If they were guilty, then somebody in our family from the older generations must be guilty as well. But we never talk about removing their names from our family trees.

Come on! This is all nonsense and a hypocrisy. We shall move on. The best way to educate our children is to face up and teach them this part of history. The names of Jordan and Terman can be a starting point. We don’t just remove them. sweep them under the carpet and pretend that Eugenics study and movement didn’t exist. This is not the best manifestation of education.

We have so much upheaval and strife in this renaming process. Many smart people are here arguing, fighting, trying to rectify such microscopic traces of the time and fail to see a much wider historical perspective. This is a total waste of our time and resources. I believe we are much smarter than this. And I hope that we all will do the right thing and make the right decision on a more elevated and unbiased scale for our children to see and learn,

Please, keep the names of the schools, turn them into educational sources. let’s move on.
No More Hypocrisy!


4 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Midtown Dad:
>> The best way to educate our children is to face up and teach them this part of history.

Again, you do not teach anyone anything by naming a school after something. If that was the case we better start naming schools after the Pythagorean Theorem or the Quadratic Formula.


2 people like this
Posted by John Koster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 27, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Above comment -- excellent. However, the eugenics issue may have given a push to the idea that a war against Japan was an acceptable way to get the United States into a war against Hitler -- okay so far -- but also a war to help either the British or the Russians maintain their hold on Asia. Harry Dexter White, U.S. Treasury, was a Soviet agent exposed by the FBI and the KGB. Dean Acheson was a Canadian who acted as if the United States were part of the British Empire. White, in particular, provoked the Japanese to expect to be colonized if hey didn't knuckle under to absurd demands. Pearl Harbor was the result. Check OPERATION SNOW (my book) or THE VENONA SECRETS by Herbert Romerstein or THE BATTLE OF BRETON WOODS by Been Steil. Harry Dexter White -- an American -- was the prime instigator of Pearl Harbor with the approval of Acheson, Henry Stinson -- Japan had to SEEM to strike first -- and Stanley Hornbeck, a State Department expert on China who didn't speak Chinese and was widely seen as somewhat nutty. Not incidentally, they kept the war in China going to kill millions of Chinese when, without the promise of U.S. support, the Chinese Nationalists would have signed an armistice with Japan and fought only the Communists.


3 people like this
Posted by steve
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2018 at 8:48 pm

The Chinese and Chinese-American families that are protesting the Yamamoto name and referring back to WWII, should be aware that they may suffer racial backlash themselves in the future if China and the U.S have a trade war, political disagreements or worse yet , military action against each other. The saddest part is that their children will suffer the backlash.


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Posted by David
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 27, 2018 at 11:42 pm

The board has voted to rename Terman after Ellen Fletcher, and Jordan after Frank Greene. I appreciate their work and the work the different committees have done to bring forward these candidates.

I found this process to be difficult and messy and damn inspiring. The many voices that spoke up tonight were helpful to me in understanding this issue better.


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Posted by John Koster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2018 at 6:43 am

One hopes the Palo Alto board members are proud of their decision. Fred Yamamoto and the many Japanese-American soldiers who served against Hitler as infantrymen who won 21 Medals of Honor and against the Japanese Army as interpreters, were honored in a fine movie named "Go For Broke," in which actual Nisei veterans essentially played themselves. The producer, Dory Schary, was Jewish and probably knew that the Japanese of Japan had sheltered German Jewish refugees in Shanghai and that the notorious Prime Minister HIDEKI TOJO had refused to execute them or hand them over when Hitler demanded that he do so. Tojo also vetoed a proposed plague attack on San Diego because he was it was unworthy of a civilized nation like Japan. Then Truman dropped two atomic bombs on women and children when the war was virtually over....Remember this when you read about the "comfort women" who were -- bluntly -- contract prostitutes sold by their own families and not rape victims. They received regular medical treatment and could refuse abusive clients -- this according to U.S. Intelligence Report #49 -- look it up. Remember, last but not least, that this furor was stirred up not by the majority of decent Chinese-Americans but by a comparative handful of people whose hearts are elsewhere. I hope they'll all show us their U.S. decorations for valor. Let's watch all the petitions volunteer if we ever get into a war with China. Glad I got out of Palo Alto.


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