On the purpose of reform movements

I’m reading The Whale and the Reactor, from the Beyond McLuhan reading list. Some really interesting stuff (including coincidentally reading the passage describing Stewart Brand’s The Whole Earth Catalog at the exact moment that Brian Lamb was listening to him speak in person).

Part 2 of the book delves into reform and revolution, primarily describing movements in the 1960s and 70s. It got me thinking about parallels to contemporary educational reform movements, specifically about the purpose of the reform movements themselves. Perhaps more on that later, but for now, this gem by Langdon Winner:

…To avoid the cynicism and gloom toward which their thinking carried them, it was necessary to perform a high-wire act along slender threads of hope.

The appropriate technology movement in industrialized countries set out to walk the same tightrope. Stemming from the decline of radical politics and from an obvious next step in the critique of technological society, its true purpose was not to produce energy from renewable resources, but to generate the hope of social renewal from the winds of despair.

Emphasis mine. So, is the real goal of educational reform movements really to change things, or is it to give us hope?