He has been in the White House 18 months, but President Obama already has seven U.S. schools named after him, far more than his predecessor George W. Bush and a designation that educators say bucks the trend.
Barack Obama Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, Md., which opened its doors today, became the latest U.S. school to be named after the president. Only one school is named after Bush, the George W. Bush Elementary School in Stockton, Calif.
Popularity plays a big role in whether the president gets the honor of having his name permanently installed on a school building. Bush’s popularity was at an all-time low when he left office: His approval rating hovered at an average of 29 percent in the last quarter of his presidency, according to Gallup’s polling.
At the same time, it is not uncommon for some time to pass before schools take on a president’s name. There are many more academic institutions honoring President George H.W. Bush today than there were in the 1990s, after he left office in 1993 amid dismal ratings and a fledgling economy.