Background/Context: Based on archival material, the following paper analyzes the political strategies of the early OECD stakeholders in transforming schooling from a cultural to a technological system and how they were in need of standardizing different existing patterns of thoughts or institutional behaviors in the member countries. The European standardization process observable in the early 1960s, triggered by the OECD, affected the organization of the educational policies on a ministerial level designed to influence the national school systems according to a specific ideology.
Purpose: The paper asks how this new managerial ideology was transported, disseminated, and implemented and finds its answer in a specific rhetoric that bypassed politically taboo themes and that covered up the clear strategies: The new iron cage of accountability was based on omitting controversial topics.
Research Design: A contextual reconstruction of the discourse emerging from and reinforcing the process of standardization and the dissemination of specific ways of educational planning, such as statistics, and with them specific ideologies of how society and its citizens should be shaped.
Conclusions/Recommendations: Revisiting today’s educational bureaucracy and its logic of expertise, standards, and accountability by reconstructing its origins in the Cold War and by that challenging the ideology of uniformity and accepting plurality as the condition of life of late modern societies.