The Cuckingstool: Just below the surface of every aspect of education discourse lies the education deform movement. It’s not like the creation of the school choice movement by conservative philanthropies in the 1980s is any secret. People For The American Way (Norman Lear's outfit) had reported extensively on the movement in its 1995 report Buying A Movement (full pdf):
The Bradley Foundation’s involvement in the issue of school vouchers is a useful illustration of a single foundation’s comprehensive funding strategy around the development of a single political issue. As noted earlier, the Bradley Foundation maintains a keen interest in pushing voucher programs around the nation, and particularly in its home state of Wisconsin. Over the past six years, Bradley money has funded groups that have laid the intellectual foundation for school vouchers, provided vouchers to parents, and litigated to defend them from challenge.
In fact many of the current topics of educational discourse didn't even exist until they were made up by the Bradley Foundation and its funded people and entities. Neither was there any scholarship to support the notion that the proposed market-based reforms would improve educational achievement. There is none today. Belief in the efficacy of privatization and commercialization of public education back then was literally an act of faith. Today it is an exercise in denial.
So that is the back-story on education discourse: Decades of reform derived from market-based ideas from plutocrats that have failed repeatedly are pushed onto the public with ever more vigor, yet the source of the advocacy is almost never revealed. The deformers have captured education discourse by investing billions of dollars in advocacy, "research" and funding of alternatives to regular public schools. The reformers have nothing to show for their efforts except a bifurcation of our education system, destruction of community schools, and a societal-wide attitude that slanders and devalues those who give the most for education: the teachers themselves. Remember that when you hear in the coming months about efforts to install "teacher accountability," "alternative licensure," and judging teachers by so-called "value-added" measures.