The American Eugenics movement, led early on by David Starr Jordan and Lewis Terman, was the driving force behind forced sterilization laws, which aimed to preserve the “purity” of Anglo-Saxon/Nordic American society by reducing or eliminating the “unfit” from among its ranks. In decades following, California quickly became the leader in its application, accounting for over 20,000 of the more than 60,000 forced sterilizations officially ‘credited’ to eugenics laws in the US. These laws disproportionately targeted young, poor women, particularly Latina women. In 2003, the California State Legislature officially and unanimously apologized for California’s leading role in the Eugenics movement. Lewis Terman was explicit about his Eugenics goal to rank all children, to sterilize or institutionalize those of “inferior” intelligence, and to segregate the educational system. Naming schools in honor of Jordan and Terman is in direct opposition to PAUSD's public school mission, and vision for students, to “...nurture their curiosity, creativity, and resilience, empowering every child to reach his or her fullest intellectual, social, and creative potential."
In March, 2016, the Board of Education convened the RSAC committee to review all school names and recommend if any district school names should be changed. RSAC voted to recommend renaming Jordan and Terman Middle Schools. On March 10, 2017, the Board of Education voted unanimously to change these two school names, and convened this committee to recommend new names.
Terman opened in 1958, was named in honor of Lewis Terman. In 2001, the school was reopened and rededicated in honor of both Lewis and his son, Frederick. Frederick Terman, a renowned engineer and academic leader, was not involved with the Eugenics movement. However, because of the longstanding and primary association of the school with Lewis Terman and the desire to make a clear break from Lewis Terman's eugenics legacy, the board determined that an entirely new name should be selected for the school. The contributions of Frederick Terman continue to be held in highest regard.
The Recommending School Names (RSN) Advisory Committee welcomes community input in consideration of names to recommend to the Board of Education.
RSN Advisory Committee