Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I was fascinated by all of the different names of the musical groups I was hearing on the radio. There were…
Short names: Yes, Love, and Them.
Long names: Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and Quicksilver Messenger Service.
Animal names: The Eagles, The Monkees, and The Turtles.
Names with the letter “y”: The Byrds, The Cyrkle, and Styx.
First names: Dion, Donavan, and Nico.
Names of Duos: Chad and Jeremy, Sam & Dave, and Simon and Garfunkel.
Names of Trios: Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Dino, Desi, and Billy, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.
Acronyms: ABBA, AC/DC, and ELO.
Names with Numbers: Dave Clark Five, The Four Tops, and Three Dog Night.
And the strange names: The Electric Prunes, ? and The Mysterians, and The Strawberry Alarm Clock.
(I recognize that almost all of the musical acts I’ve listed are made up of white males. This is due, in part, to the music that was broadcast on the local radio stations and what was available at the music stores in the predominately white community where I lived. It is also a result of the racism and sexism in the national music industry.)
As a young singer/songwriter, I believed that part of the magic of becoming a famous musician or music group was to have an amazing name. Because I dreamed of being a rock star when I grew up, I spent a lot of time thinking about names.
In 7th grade a was part of a short-lived trio called The Simon Nobility. The “Simon” part of the name was in tribute to the Paul Simon songs we practiced. We only practiced twice… and then disbanded.
Later, in 8th grade, I breezed through a whole slew of names that reflected that musicial style of my most recently composed song. For the blues I was “Broonzy,” in honor of Big Bill Broonzy. For the psychedelic songs I wrote on my 12-string guitar, I was “The Colour Emporium of Empyrean.” (Note the British influence.) And for the rock influenced music on my electric guitar, I became “Subaltern Quinsy.” (That’s me on the guitar in the 1969 photo above.) I remember spending a lot of time scouring the dictionary for interesting sounding words. Searching for the name was definitely more fun than the actual name itself.
It’s almost 50 years later and I am searching for a name again. But instead of a name for a musical act, I’m looking for a new name for an education group of parents and retired teachers. You know, that group that shows up at School Board meetings and speaks out on school issues such as safety, equity, learning, testing, and transparency.
A search on Facebook shows that the following names have already been taken:
The Association for White Anti-Racist Educators
Badass Teachers Association
Children First Education
Education Equity Or Else
Educators for Antiracism
Educators Reimagining Education
Parents 4 Equity & Power
Parents Across America
Parents Students Teachers Group
Returning Learning to Public Education
Superheroes in Public Education Advocacy
Teachers Against Dying
United for Students
There are many other similar group names that include the word “National,” the name of a state, or “Retired.”
My group doesn’t need a cute name. It doesn’t even need a clever acronym. (Though the Badass Teachers Association goes by BAT.) I’m looking for a name that clearly describes our membership and our purpose or goal.
To help with this process, I have created a simple name generator, Name That Group, that includes many of the elements of a descriptive name. To use it, select one or more words from each column.
Here are some of the names I’ve created:
The Alliance of Concerned Citizens Speaking Out for Education Justice in Our School District
The Coalition of Community Members Who Care About Transparency in Our School Board
The Organization of Retired Teachers and Parents Who Are Fighting For Health and Safety in Our Schools
These names are much longer that Big Brother’s, don’t include the “y” (unless you like the look of Allyance), and aren’t as strange as any electric fruit. But they get the job done.
Hopefully I will find a name my group can all agree on.
Now it’s your turn, create a name of an education group that you would like to be a member of.
Peter Rawitsch, December 19, 2020