It is time to stop beating around the bush and start talking about what these people are saying and what their goals are: Many mainstream Republicans want to de-legitimize and deconstruct public education as a concept in the United States of America.
This isn't their sole historical property, mind you. There was a time not so long ago when populist Southern Democratic governors stood in schoolhouse doors and fought public education as well. These are old questions, it is an old fight. And Democrats don't have a very good record of holding political allies responsible for the failing state of many public schools across the land.
That being said, there are two questions that must be asked about public school: Do you think that every child in the United States should be offered the opportunity to obtain a basic education? Do you think a government organization is the most effective way to deliver this basic education to the most possible children?
The current answer from the right wing continues to be "no," and "hell, no." That answer dominates the mainstream Republican Party mindset.
Let's not mince words, those kinds of beliefs are not political non-negotiables. Our own national history has often been built on the fights for universal access to basic education. It often took generations of struggle to reform school policy to include one group or another, or to fund one group the same as any other. Once one goal was acheived, it opened up a new host of problems that had to be addressed, and the political debate continued. That debate never ended, it just changed.
Right now, those answers to those two questions are winning the national debate. They are doing so because any political opposition refuses to accept that those questions make up the heart of the debate.
The current crop of Republicans is out to destroy the concept of public education in the United States of America.