Larry Cuban is a keen observer of the marketing of new technologies to schools. In this post, he looks at the common practice of claiming that the product being sold causes guaranteed success, I.e. a “proof point.” The salesmanship involved is akin to the advertisers’ claim that their product will cure all illnesses, calm your itch, make you beautiful, and fix your hearing.

Schools have long been targets of fast-talking salesmen, but now the snake oil is presented professionally as a miracle cure to raise test scores. In addition to the usual profit motive, there is today the entrepreneur’s devout faith in disruptive innovation. Heaven help the schools. When they come calling, slam the door and don’t let them put their foot in it.