Taken together with the fallacy of understanding (i.e. just because I think I understand the problem doesn't mean that I do; just because I am clear about what I think I said doesn't mean that you understood me; just because you say you understand etc. etc. ... you get my drift)
There's an adage used in education circles which is often misattributed to Einstein,
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."The 'quote' is rolled out when discussing the utility or lack thereof in testing children. But I think there is more mileage when thinking about the system as a whole. I spent a significant portion of the 1990s living and working in Moscow when the former Soviet Union was completely reinventing itself under Yeltsin. I have made comparisons before on conference platforms between this period of furious making-it-up-as-we-go and the ongoing process of structural education reforms in this country.
The contrasts I drew were that in a self-reinventing system, control and oversight is often knee-jerk and self-contradictory. But the analogy also works elsewhere.
I remember with great fondness the introduction of Western financial services products to Russia when Russian citizens had absolutely no concept of what 'insurance' or 'bank loans' were in much the same way as a fish lacks the construct of what a tree is and whether it should climb it. Russians would take out a loan to buy a car and then refuse to make any repayments and be utterly bewildered by threats from hastily invented bailiffs who lacked the legal authority to proceed.
Turning a school into an academy is entirely analogous with this in that both the headteachers to whom we are entrusting the management of the system and the self-multiplying central bureaucrats who are running to keep up with the inevitable chaos that ensues lack the constructs to deal with it and often lack an understanding of each other's behaviour. So genuine mistake begets overreaction begets mistrust begets centralisation and control begets waste...
Oddly this though rhymes with another conversation I had last week with a fellow linguist about Allophonia. We were talking about synthetic phonics and the weaknesses of separating sound from meaning in the teaching of language. I remembered with fondness Anthony Burgess's book, "A mouthful of air" which I had loved when I was young. In it Burgess explains the problem of Allophonia as being unable to distinguish between two phonemes because one does not know how to make them in one's mouth.
He describes the classic English speaker's complete inability to distinguish between the French words 'dessus' and 'desous' (above and below... which is kind of important). And then explains how to make a French 'u' sound by using English phonemes. First arrange your lips teeth and tongue to make the sound 'ee' as in bleed and then keeping the tongue and teeth in that position round your lips to make an 'o' as in blow. Practise that for a bit and you will start to hear the difference between 'dessus' and 'dessous'.
This fundamental weakness of blaming people for not being able to distinguish between things of which they have no experience and then overreacting to their failing plays itself out across the sector daily.