APPLETON – Residents of the Appleton Area School District will get their chance this week to provide feedback on the proposal to rename Lincoln Elementary in honor of Ron Dunlap.
The vision, written at the top of the survey, is: “Working together, students, family, staff and community will ensure that each graduate is academically, socially and emotionally prepared for success in life. Every Student Every Day.”
And, the survey says: “An important factor in pursuing this vision is the environment in which students learn. Students learn best when they are challenged and feel supported, welcomed and respected.”
Eggert questioned why the survey would include the district’s vision statement, saying the proposal to rename Lincoln Elementary stems from a community effort to honor Dunlap after his 2019 death.
Dunlap, who was named one of the most influential African Americans in the state, dedicated nearly four decades of his life to public education. Because Dunlap spent 16 years as principal of Lincoln Elementary before becoming the district’s first coordinator of minority services, the district-organized team landed on the proposal to change Lincoln’s name to the “Ronald C. Dunlap Elementary School, Home of the Lincoln Lions.”
Motives matter. If the district wants to rename a school to honor a local leader who made great contributions to the community, then that’s outstanding. Districts can rename schools (although, they must be flush with cash to spend money on something relatively trivial) at their discretion. If they want to honor a modern local leader instead of an old president from Illinois, then cool.
If they are renaming the school to send the message that Lincoln is not worthy of being honored and want to replace him with a token local leader as an excuse, then it indicates a much larger problem with the district. I hope some parents get to the bottom of what’s going on in their district.