Here's a TED Talk by Bruce Schneier about the difference between our sense of security and the reality of security. What caught my attention is his description of the discrepancy between our sensibilities and the reality they are supposed to reflect. He talks about it in terms of how we create security theater that has little to do with the reality of making people more secure.
I think the concept is crucial to understanding what is going on in education. We have lots of education theater that reassures people but contributes little to real education.