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Abstract: On large representative sets of newspaper articles, I undertake a critical analysis of the contemporary discourse U.S. print media uses to discuss U.S. public education. I interpreted the findings using metaphor theory, a strand of cognitive science, which offers an account for how humans make sense of their world. This study suggests how everyday Americans and policy makers tend to conceptualize public education. Three discourse-formulating conceptual metaphors are discerned: school as factory, curriculum as path, and socialization as river. However, also following metaphor theory, these conventional metaphors impede changes in policy. Beyond identifying these naturalized metaphors, I offer alternative "guerrilla metaphors" as another way to advance national understanding of American public education

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