In the early twenty-first century, effectiveness, as measured by performance indicators, remains a central priority in educational practice. In a post-reform era, things have settled down somewhat. Whole societies have become increasingly at home with such indicators, chiefly as devices that make the conduct of different practices more amenable to prompt public scrutiny. In practices that deal mainly with tangible products (e.g. financial accounting, industrial manufacturing), such devices seem appropriate enough. However, in practices where tangible outcomes bear a complex relationship to the enduring benefits of the practice (e.g. teaching and learning), such devices are deeply problematic if they purport to capture the heart of the matter. In the case of public education, funding is now commonly related to the measured performance of

outcomes, so practitioners’ energies become attracted by what is most likely to bring the greatest tangible reward. Where habituation in such exercises becomes a prevalent feature of practitioners’ work, major changes occur in workplace cultures. The lore of the practice becomes progressively shorn of its best inspirations, with consequences that are particularly incapacitating for newcomers to the practice. Such workplace cultures have become increasingly common in schools, colleges and other learning environments over the past two decades, just as the more worthy ideals that draw people to teaching as a way of life have become increasingly marginalized.