Apparently, conservatives, in line with their scorched earth approach to governance, have decided to call public schools ‘government schools’ (boldface mine):
Somewhere along the way, the term “government schools” entered the lexicon in place of references to the public school system…
The use of the term has set off alarms even among some Republicans, who fear that it signals still less support, financially and otherwise, for the public schools in a state that had long felt pride over the quality of its education system. The recent adoption of a school finance plan that was acceptable to Mr. Brownback, the Legislature and the Kansas Supreme Court has not entirely assuaged those concerns.
Davis Merritt, a columnist for The Wichita Eagle, said in a column in May that state legislators’ “deaf and blind” ideology was threatening public schools.
“Some have begun to call public schools ‘government schools,’ a calculated pejorative scorning both education and anything related to government,” he wrote…
He [John Locke] suggested, somewhat tongue in cheek, that swapping “government” for “public” could become a trend, with references to “government libraries,” “government parks” — even “government universities.”
“It’s austere,” Dr. Locke said. “It has an oppressive ring to it. It sounds rigid, the opposite of open or friendly or charming or congenial. The people who use that term are hoping those words will come to mind.”
But what do conservative want to replace “government schools” with? Charter schools–which is to say government contractor schools. If we’re going to play at semiotics, then let’s go all the way.
After all, charters have cost control and embezzlement issues, they often fudge their numbers, they are deeply intertwined with government (and exert undue influence on government), they externalize ‘cost-losers’ (also known as at-risk children), skimp on costs to their ‘customers’, and, when it comes to building construction, have de facto ‘cost-plus’ contracts.
Charters Government-contractor schools too often are the educational equivalent of Bechtel or Lockheed. So if conservatives are going to play the word game, let’s hit them back. Because the only thing liked less than “government” are government contractors on the make.