Here is a portion of what Alfie Kohn had to say about the state of public discourse around education reform:
The discussion that we have about education is only as good as the way that discussion is framed by the people who have ready access to the means of communication. So if public officials and corporate officials and corporate media have framed the conversation in a particular way, then it's likely that we will ask some questions and studiously avoid others. The default assumptions -- the things we take for granted because we've never been invited to reflect on them turns out to be the limits, the barriers, the boundaries to anything we talk about. So for example, if no one invites most people to rethink whether education could be more than just transmitting a set of facts or skills to passive receptacles, then nobody is likely to look around at schools and say, "how come they are still characterized by worksheets, lectures, quizzes, tests, grades and homework just as they were twenty years ago and fifty years ago." Because we think that is how school has to be.
And if nobody has said standardized tests tend to measure what matters least and there are more meaningful and less destructive ways to assess individual students as well as whole schools then the public discussion will just be based on a sort of monosyllabic grunting of "test scores go up that's good", and if the larger public conversation assumes that government is always a bad thing and the free market delivers results then we will be inherently suspicious about the great democratic institution of education in this country and we will look for ways to undermine its public status or be receptive to people who attempt to do that. Which is exactly what we are seeing now in the name of choice.