A persistent -- and, I think, powerful -- theme in conservatism is the emphasis upon limits and doubt about the wisdom of centralized actors. One of the strongest pragmatic defenses of the free market is that centralized authority is not efficient enough and wise enough to direct the economic energies of the nation; hence, a diversity of economic actors should make their own, personal economic decisions. Moreover, a mainstream of conservative philosophy from Burke onwards suggests that the richness of a given human society and culture goes beyond mere statistics -- something about the weave of human life resists quantification.
However, a great many "conservatives" ignore these teachings when the topic of education "reform" comes up. Suddenly, a technocratic mania that seems far more a trait of bureaucratic "progressivism" rules.
Read more at the Huffington Post.