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They call them “government schools”

They call them “government schools”

In a recent interview on CNN, Shirley Brown, chair of the Sarasota (Florida) County School Board was invited to talk about the growing hostilities between school parents and school boards.  The left-wing narrative is that there is a wave of violence afflicting school board meetings – and threats against educators.  Maybe so, but angry people at school board meetings is nothing new.

It generally has to do with what is being taught in the classroom.  Critical Race Theory is often mentioned, but it is not the only subject.  Parents are also concerned about a propagandized civic program – not only as part of the official curriculum.  Parents are also concerned about the blatant partisanship that is seeping into almost every academic discipline – even English and Math. 

Science is another hot issue.  The undermining of religious beliefs is another area of concern.  Sex education that goes beyond biology to lifestyle matters is yet another.  

Underscoring all these concerns is educating against parental responsibility and authority.  The Democrat candidate for governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, gave voice to the problem when he said that there is “no role” for parents in establishing school curricula.  

I ran into that same sentiment when my oldest son applied to a college in Michigan.  In the material he received was guidance that said he may have to “unlearn” things he was taught at home. And the target for re-education was not math, but more of the cultural, social, and religious beliefs.  And that was back in 1989.

Based on the interview with Brown, one need not look up her political registration to make a very safe assumption that she is a Democrat – or at least not a Republican.  Her comments were sprinkled with negative references to the GOP.

In condemning those she alleges bring violence to the education communities, Brown declared – in a most condemnatory tone – that they even call the public schools “government schools” – as if they are not.  

I often refer to public schools as “government schools” not only because they are, but it is important for people to understand that the public-school systems are government entities.  Teachers are government employees – bureaucrats.  The Nation Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are GOVERNMENT unions.

The education-industrial combine would prefer that we do not think of our public schools for what they are.  The disconnect is deep.  I had a cousin who was a schoolteacher.  When I referred to her as a “government worker,” she indignantly snapped back.  “School teachers are NOT government workers!”  Really?

I have long believed that it is the fact that the public schools ARE government run that makes them so often inferior to private and parochial school systems serving the same communities.  Because they are government institutions, they suffer from politicization. School boards are elected.  Rising in the ranks of a school system is often benefited by political connections.  The very fact that minority schools in our cities are intentionally maintained as inferior educational institutions is political.  No private or parochial schools could continue to exist if their educational product was as low as you find in the government-run schools.

That is why public school officials and the school unions are so vehemently opposed to school choice.  They know that if inner city parents were given the opportunity to send their kids to alternative schools, the government-run schools would have to improve the quality of education – or go out of business.

Brown protests the use of the term “government schools” because she apparently views it as a negative … a pejorative.  She is right.  But not because it is a gratuitous insult, but because it properly conveys the obvious inferiority of the systems vis-à-vis the private and parochial systems.  

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Dan Tyree

    Government schools ? As in re-education camps? People had better wake up.