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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Here's another 'Stuart' worthy of a school name

Alice Jackson Stuart
As the Fairfax County School Board prepares to consider a resolution next week about renaming JEB Stuart High School, some board members have expressed the desire to search for a compromise that could be acceptable to both sides.

Those who want to keep the name point to the need to preserve the school’s historic legacy, while those in favor of changing the name say it’s no longer appropriate for a school to be named in honor of a Confederate general and slave holder who committed treason by fighting for secession.

For some people, the main issue is about the cost of renaming the school.

To reduce expenses – such as the need to buy new uniforms and the like – a proposal was raised at a school board work session July 17 to drop “JEB” and refer to the school as Stuart High School in honor of the entire Stuart family. Another suggestion called for renaming the school for Gilbert Stuart, the early American portrait painter.

A group of people in favor of a name change has come up with another option: rename the school for Alice Jackson Stuart, a distinguished educator and civil rights pioneer from Virginia.

Debbie Ratliff, a Stuart parent, wrote to school board members and FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand July 17 on behalf of a coalition of parents, students, alumni, and others who support changing the name that renaming the school “Stuart High School” is no change at all. And while Gilbert Stuart is a prominent figure, he has no connection to Virginia.

Stuart as a young graduate
Naming the school for Alice Jackson Stuart would be “a reasonable compromise” that will “unify our community,” Ratliff wrote.

As the first African American to apply to the University of Virginia graduate school, Alice Jackson Stuart (1913-2001) helped pave the way for other African Americans in the commonwealth to access higher education.

Shortly after her death, the Virginia Senate approved a joint resolution to honor her. In 2012, she was posthumously honored as one of the Library of Virginia’s “Virginia Women in History” in recognition of her life’s work.

Alice Jackson Stuart received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Union University in 1934 and a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1939. She taught English at public schools in Richmond and at several institutions of higher education, including Bethune-Cookman College, Howard University, Medical College of Virginia, Rutgers State University, and Middlesex County College. She also worked as a freelance writer and educational research specialist.

Fairfax County Public Schools doesn’t have a single high school named after a woman or a person of color, Ratliff points out. Renaming JEB Stuart High School for Alice Jackson Stuart would be “a landmark event that will inspire future generations of students,” she says.

Ratliff also notes that while a possible new name for Stuart High School was discussed at the July 17 school board work session, FCPS policy and practice calls for school names to be selected with community input.

21 comments:

  1. This is a great idea! I wonder whether it has public support.

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    Replies
    1. " An FCPS survey found overwhelming opposition to a name change..." as reported in this blog on May 24, 2016.
      http://annandaleva.blogspot.com/2016/05/stuart-community-discusses-pros-and.html#more

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    2. I nominate "Stuart Little," the determined and brave creature from the classic children's book by E.B.(not J.E.B.) White.

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  2. My initial thought is just the same as before. Renaming our high school was overwhelming rejected by the majority of the Stuart Pyramid and students. The answer is NO.

    Do not spend any money on anything except student programs and needs.

    The renaming regulation is law. The renaming regulation has been violated. Are we a society that acknowledges the rule of law or not?

    The school board members behind it are pushing a political agenda. The mission of the school board is education, not politics.

    I repeat what I posted before...The issues behind the name change are far, far deeper. School Board members have usurped the voice of the Stuart Pyramid communities that rejected the name change and are forcing their personal political agenda on us. They aligned with the NAACP to help bully the students and communities into submission. The students are resolute. 90% of those surveyed reject a change. The community said NO. Respect them.

    The process used to deliberate a name change violated R. 8170.7, the renaming regulation. The terminology in the regulation is not defined and therefore can be manipulated to fit specific situations instead of providing guidance for all county schools. This is a HUGE defect and might even not pass judicial scrutiny.

    Our school board is elected on a non-partisan ballot. Sure, SB members are endorsed by parties, but once elected their Code of Conduct says they leave personal and special interests out of their deliberations. FOIA evidence shows Sandy Evans and Pat Hynes, in particular, have violated their oaths of office to be impartial as well as the special interest clause of the FCSB Code of Conduct.

    Here's a link to the FOIA evidence.
    https://goo.gl/cserZN

    See for yourself how some SB members work behind the scenes to undermine their constituents.

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    Replies
    1. When did the NAACP start running the school Board?

      When did they change their focus from helping the black community to hating white people and dividing a community.

      This issue started on a lie and to boot if you disagree you are called a racist. It was defined early on by George Alber that there was no need to listen the whims of the majority. "Whims"....There was never any serious intention of winning the community support

      If students are truly offended how do they stand driving up Lee Highway to Patrick Henry Drive and applying for college at UVA, home of Jefferson. Where will it end. Its time to grow up, the civil war was over a hundred and fifty years ago.

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  3. I am sick to death of this issue polarizing our community. Name the next new school for anyone you want.....JEB Stuart should stay JEB Stuart. The school has been around since 1958. The charge it was named in spite has been thoroughly and totally debunked.

    Quit acting like money grows on trees, it doesn't!

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  4. Ms. Ratliff it baffles me that you are so intent on renaming this school. If you want to rename the school with the same Stuart name I suggest Rod Stewart---sure the "Stuart" is spelt differently but who can resist Maggie May, Hot Legs and Forever Young? Please someone have an element of sense and leave well enough alone and respond to historical factual findings instead of misrepresenting this General and the Stuart community.

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    Replies
    1. Love Maggie May...you win!

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  5. Ms. Ratliff is really trying to find someone named Stuart to take the place of ole JEB and in doing so she is trying to revise and rewrite Virginia history. This is all due to the fact that the School Board would rather spend time on noneducational issues and incorrect sound-bites from supposed Hollywood elites who no doubt could not pass a history test if they had to. Well, if Ms. Ratliff is looking to nominate a "Stuart" individual I vote for Rod Stewart -- a different "Stuart" but who can resist Maggie May, Hot Legs, and Forever Young. A great rocker and singer of ballads. Why aren't we looking at the delivery of education instead of spending money and time on an issue we cannot finance? "Oh..Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you. It's late September and I really should be back at school.."
    Let's stick with JEB Stuart Ms. Ratliff.

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  6. The School system defines community schools as those within the community of the student body the school represents. In the past the system has worked to advocate for community schools and to promote them. If the System wanted to place this matter out to the rest of the Fairfax community and gather views they truly would have done so in a systematic manner, similar to Ms. Evans SLEEP initiative – but they have not done so.

    I am sure that most of county residents in the western, northern and southern parts of the county have NO idea about the controversy that is taking place within the Stuart community. I challenge Ms. Evans on what she and the system have done to present this matter elsewhere to gather the thoughts of the “greater” Fairfax Community. The Ad Hoc committee, an attempted to define this issue, but it did not represent the greater Fairfax Community rather it was filled with special interest group members from the NAACP and elsewhere per School Board members Ms. Evans and Ms. Hynes preferences.

    My guess is the county residents believe there is NO compelling need to change the name. The “compelling need” has been conjured up by Ms. Evans along with sound bites from Hollywood celebrities who have little if any knowledge about history. Mr. Albers, an agitator and an appointee of Sharon Bulova’s, joined in the discussion due to his affiliation with the NAACP and the ability to bus in people as far as Maryland to show support for a name change at local Stuart community meetings. He has mislead the public with false statements about the man, JEB Stuart, and his actions during the Civil War. In doing so he has insulted the Stuart Community as well as the state of Virginia and its history.

    So what is the compelling need to change this name? There is none other than the fact that this matter is on the Democratic Progressive agenda with no funding to implement a change within the Fairfax County Public School System. Rather than discuss the delivery of education to our students the School Board prefers to find issues where they don’t exist, waste funding and tear communities apart simply because they can.

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  7. Alice Jackson Stuart taught at Rutgers University –- a school with ties to slavery: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/11/22/new-rutgers-research-examines-slavery-universitys-core/94312676/?

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  8. There is NO REASON to change the name of the school or to pretend to change it, by calling it (Martha) Stewart. The evidence of relevance is ONLY for JEB Stuart. If someone is so upset, then you are welcomed to leave - transfer to another school. NOTHING stops you from attending another school. WHY should the majority be put through this massive disruption for a few. It's total IGNORANCE.

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  9. The Democrat Party needs to rename itself first. No other political party has harmed minorities than Democrats (confederacy, kkk, Jim Crow, mass resistence, senator and grand wizard Byrd).

    Maybe they can just shorten it to Rats.

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    Replies
    1. Democrats are responsible for the KKK? ouch

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  10. A student poll at JEB Stuart High School in 2016 found that 90% either like the current name or saw no compelling need to change the school name.

    Name changers are a small militant mob that likes to bully kids into silence and submission. They appear to like erasing history and promoting intolerance.

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  11. Oh, and don't forget Martha Stewart: she's good at cooking up things and does a great job in her presentation so things look just so ... cleaning up history it look just right ... anyone see this as ludicrous?

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  12. I propose we rename STH for John McCain. Partisanship aside, Sen. McCain has throughout his life demonstrated selfless devotion to our nation. This would be a fitting legacy.

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    Replies
    1. And the mascot can be a RINO.

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  13. Thanks for the post. I think this is a great idea - name the school for a woman deserving of the honor and avoid the expense otherwise associated with a name change. An excellent compromise!

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  14. Can we rename Glasgow middle school too? Their namesake was a woman of ill repute who had a scandalous affair with a married man. As a married man I stand offended.

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  15. I've wondered why they are beating up on Stuart, but not Lee. If they want to change all of the schools named after slaveholders, throw Jefferson & Madison into the mix too.

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