One of the brilliant readers of this blog sent in a comment that made me understand what has been happening to American public education for the past 15-20 years.

It is the conscious, purposeful application of a marketing strategy called FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

Wikipedia says that FUD is used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics, and propaganda. I sensed that this was happening but I didn’t realize that it was a tried and true strategy that has a name and a documented history.

It’s a strategy in which one competitor undermines the other by spreading FUD. Read the Wikipedia entry to learn who the FUDmaster is.

In this country, the enemies of public education use FUD to advance their primary goal of privatization. They say our public schools are “obsolete” and “broken.” They say it over and over again. They use that line to promote privatization and for-profit education. They want to cut costs by getting rid of experienced teachers and replacing them with online instruction, so they belittle the value of experience and push laws to get rid of tenure and seniority. As they succeed in their use of FUD, what is broken is the spirits of teachers.

They say again and again that our schools are failing when they are not. They have wept about international test scores since “A Nation at Risk” in 1983, even as our economy took off. They use FUD to blame the schools for the market failures they cause. They use FUD to blame the schools for poverty.

High-stakes testing is their tool of choice to close schools and fire teachers.

If you want to see the quintessential application of FUD to public education, read the report of the task force of the Council on Foreign Relations, chaired by Joel Klein and Condoleeza Rice, which says that our public schools are a threat to national security and that their salvation is to help kids escape them via charters and vouchers. For an antidote, read my review of that report.

Or you could watch the quintessential documentary of FUD, see “Waiting for ‘Superman,'” and then read my review.

The reader who opened my eyes to this marketing strategy, designed to harm public education and to allow its destroyers to call themselves “reformers” signs her stuff as “chemtchr.” Now we know.

Your reader is describing a market-capture strategy refined in the hardware/software market wars of the last century. It is based on sowing Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt about competing products. I capitalized each word. because the acronym is for the strategy, FUD, is enshrined now in the history of the dawn of the computer age.Google it, and read how IBM piioneered it, and then how the FUDmaster himself out-fudded them.It’s been unleashed now on public education. The children of a whole free nation, and the very people charged with their daily defense, are deliberately assaulted by fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Our state-imposed subservience to the data industry monopolists eats into every day of their childhood, as the FUDmaster tries to impose his defective new operating system on their minds and hearts.