Stonewall Jackson Elementary School had a new sign installed this morning to reflect its new, Confederate-less name: Mockingbird Elementary. The new name officially goes into effect on July 1, but as you can see by the below tweet, the district went ahead and got the new signage up about a month ahead of time.
A new sign was installed this morning at #DallasISD‘s Stonewall Jackson Elementary to reflect its new name, Mockingbird Elementary, which goes into effect July 1. District staff have been hard at work creating signs for schools that will have new names. pic.twitter.com/vSQGDWEsxm
— Dallas ISD (@dallasschools) June 11, 2018
The school was one of three that Dallas ISD trustees voted to rename last December. Like Stonewall Jackson, the other two—Robert E. Lee and William L. Cabell—honored Confederate generals.
Cabell Elementary will be rebranded Chapel Hill Preparatory, reflecting the community in Farmers Branch that it serves. Robert E. Lee will be Geneva Heights Elementary, named for the appraisal district’s title for the plat it stands on. The Dallas Morning News reported that the Mockingbird name came from a 54-member committee decision. And the Advocate walked through the renaming of Lee, which was a long time coming. A spokeswoman for the district said dates haven’t been set to formalize the new names of the other schools.
The decision was packaged with a resolution that called for the district to address the effects of the man-made decisions that allowed inequality to flourish, impacting students for decades. About 88 percent of Dallas ISD’s student population is considered poor, which means they come from families that earn below 185 percent of the federal poverty line. That’s under $45,000 for a family of four. Trustees Miguel Solis and Joyce Foreman, who are often on opposite sides of board votes, co-authored the resolution. They call out red-lining, segregation, the devastation of black neighborhoods by highway development, and inadequate resource allocation from school to school throughout Dallas ISD.
While we’re on this topic, let’s revisit some of the language of that resolution:
“We recognize historical decisions have created barriers that no child should be forced to overcome and our direct capacity to eliminate these conditions is limited, but we also believe that a high quality public education provides all children the best chance to enhance their lives.”
“We believe we must directly confront inequities in school and teacher quality, resource allocation, socioeconomically and racially segregated enrollment patterns, and issues of programmatic access and effectiveness that result in achievement and attainment inequities for each and every demographic group.”
“We recognize that Dallas ISD students face many out-of-school factors that impact their education including but not limited to poverty, housing, transportation, and health care, and in these areas we must engage in robust collaboration with private entities, nonprofits, philanthropy, and municipal institutions including the City of Dallas, Dallas County, Dallas Housing Authority, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit to alleviate the symptoms of these factors.”
Renaming the schools was seen as a first step in this journey. And now the signs are going up. Meanwhile, the city is still dawdling over what exactly to do with its Confederate monuments.