Quoting from the executive summary:
After analyzing trends in public school names in seven states, representing 20 percent of all public school students, we obtained the following statistics:
- Of almost 3,000 public schools in Florida, five honor George Washington, compared with eleven named after manatees.
- In Minnesota, the naming of schools after presidents declined from 14 percent of schools built before 1956 to 3 percent of schools built in the last decade.
- In New Jersey, naming schools after people dropped form 45 percent of schools built before 1948 to 27 percent of schools built since 1988.
- In the last two decades, a public school built in Arizona was almost fifty times more likely to be named after such things as a mesa or a cactus than after a president.
- In Florida, nature names for schools increased from 19 percent of schools built before 1958 to 37 percent of schools built in the last decade.
- Similar patterns were observed in all seven states analyzed.
- Today, a majority of all public school districts nationwide do not have a single school named after a president.
The authors suggest there is a corelation between the decline in naming schools after distinguished citizens and teaching civic responsibilities. "The unwillingness of school boards to take stands when naming schools may indicate a reluctance to take the stands necessary to teach civics effectively."
"To some extend, the change in school names is a reflection of broader cultural changes, including increased skepticism of inherited wisdom, revisionist history, and increased interest in the environment. But attributing the change to culture is an insufficient explanation. Culture partially shapes the decisions of political leaders, but culture can also be a product of the decisions of political leaders. The question is, why are the political leaders who are in control of school names--school board members--increasingly reluctant to fight for names that honor individual people?"