For John, BLUF: Yes, the elites are worried that ideas are drifting. They need to do a better job talking with the rest of us. Nothing to see here; just move along.
The issue here is that there is what some see as a subtle linguistic shift from the terminology "public schools" to "government schools".♠ At the same time we are seeing an enrollment shift away from public schools. There have been parochial schools for a long time. Now home schooling is becoming more popular, with millions of children being home schooled. Part of that, I am sure, is families where one parent can stay home an both parents are concerned about the quality of education in public schools.
Here is Professor Althouse's post, going from a quote from The New York Times to a quote from Ronald Reagan to a Linguistics Professor (Dr Deborah Tannen) to a Supreme Court Decision from way back in 1923.
Said a woman in Kansas, quoted in a NYT article called "Public Schools? To Kansas Conservatives, They’re ‘Government Schools.'"I like the idea expressed in the SCOTUS decision that "excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children". I have previously linked to an article ("School and Its Discontents") from The Catholic Worker in which the author says that our public schools still follow the Prussian model from the 1800s, wherein students were prepared to work in factories as replaceable units. That is a bit of an indictment.
Experts are also quoted, including linguistics professor Deborah Tannen, who was reminded of Ronald Reagan's famous line: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help’”:“People tend to trace the demonization of government to Reagan,” Dr. Tannen said. “That’s kind of iconic, how he was using it. He set the government up as the enemy.”And I'm reminded of the 1923 Supreme Court case, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, that said:The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations. Posted by Ann Althouse at 8:00 PM 96 comments
Hat tip to Ann Althouse.
Regards — Cliff
♠ At this point I would like to note that Charter Schools ARE public schools.