Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:
Ron Isaac is a retired teacher of English in New York City. He writes:
What a shame that language is such a pliable substance! It’s putty in the hands of folks who control public policy debates, especially about education. And it can be deadly to progress when it’s off the tongues of people who exercise authority unjustly, either enabled by their own title or position or else by their power to purchase the influence of others who are in such position to damage or enrich or simply make things happen.
These people do to phrases and sometimes to popular perceptions what whip-snapping “trainers” do to tigers in a circus. By making them heel, they in effect own these great creatures.